Posts Tagged ‘ground beef’

Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Ah, that Pioneer Woman. Everything over there is delicious. I don’t usually consider her food to be terribly original or inventive, just a really great solid version of whatever she’s trying to make. That’s what you get with these sloppy joes. If you’ve never made sloppy joes “from scratch” and have been relying on a mix or a can, you’re definitely in for a treat. The flavors are brighter, there’s just the right amount of spice, and browning the buns with butter is a great, simple touch that really makes a difference.

(If you have made sloppy joes from scratch, there’s probably not anything earth shattering about this recipe. My family used ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar to make their sauce, and this is certainly in that family. But the onion & bell pepper adds something to the mix, as does the fresh garlic.) This recipe is extremely flexible though, so you can leave out pretty much any of the ingredients that you don’t care for.

photo courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com

Sloppy Joes a la Pioneer Woman
Serves 8; Adapted from thepioneerwoman.com

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-½ pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ Large White or Yellow Onion, Diced
  • ½ Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ cups Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (or use more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or use more or less to taste)
  • Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  • Tabasco Sauce (optional; to taste)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Kaiser Rolls, Hamburger Buns, or other soft sandwich rolls
  • Butter

Preparation Instructions

Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To prepare the buns:

Spread both halves of each bun with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls. Serve hot.

Garlic Thyme Burgers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Monday night, I decided to make our first burgers on the shiny new grill. Even though I have our favorite burgers pretty much down to a science (garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash Worcester sauce–nothing fancy, but still very tasty), I wanted to try something a little different. I went with this burger, featured in this month’s Cooking Light magazine.

Picture via cookinglight.com

Garlic-Thyme Burgers
Adapted from Cooking Light June 2010

  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound  ground sirloin
  • 1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4  (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls or other sandwich rolls
  • 4  baby romaine lettuce leaves

Prepare your grill. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Add patties to the grill; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Spread about 3/4 teaspoon mustard over bottom half of each roll; top each with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 patty, 1 tomato slice, and top half of roll.

Note: Cooking Light suggested serving this burger with grilled tomatoes, but I couldn’t quite sell David on the idea, so we went with regular tomatoes. Still quite tasty. The first summery tomatoes I’ve found this year.

I liked the burgers, but not well enough to replace our old standby. The fresh thyme and garlic came through nicely, but didn’t overpower the burger. This would make a nice burger base for many different recipes.

It turns out, I forgot to take a picture, so all I have to offer you is the picture from Cooking Light. I’m trying to get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing. 🙂

Lasagna Burgers

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I’ll admit that the idea of this burger came out of Everyday with Rachael Ray. I thought it was a good idea, but only skimmed the recipe. When it came time to try my hand at the lasagna burgers, I didn’t have the recipe handy, so I basically just threw it all together. Here’s what you need:

Lasagna Burgers

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 4 good-quality sandwich buns (recommended: ciabatta)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1  cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and salt and pepper. Use your finger tips to mix, then score into four sections and shape into four patties.

2) Grill as you would hamburgers (we used a grill pan on the stove), using a little bit of olive oil or nonstick spray to keep the burgers from sticking.

3) While the burgers are cooking, melt the the butter in a small glass dish in the microwave. Stir in the garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Brush onto both halves of each sandwich bun and toast in a toaster oven or under a broiler until golden and crisp.

4) While you toast the bread and cook the burgers, combine the spaghetti sauce and remaining ricotta cheese in a small sauce pan over medium-low. Cook until the cheese melts into the sauce and the mixture is warmed through.

5) When the burgers are done, it’s time to assemble! Take the bottom half of a toasted sandwich bun and spread it with 2 tablespoons of the cheesy sauce mixture. Top with a burger patty and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Finish with the other half of the garlic toasted sandwich bun.

And there you have it–a burger with all the classic flavors of a cheesy lasagna with garlic bread.

Chorizo Tacos

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

This might be the closest thing I have to a “secret family recipe” to share with you all. There are plenty of meals that I make just like I grew up with, but I don’t necessarily think that they involve secrets or tips that other people don’t already use. Chorizo is a great ingredient, and I don’t think enough people are using it.

The chorizo that I’m talking about here is the mexican kind. (There’s also Spanish chorizo out there–it’s hard, like salami or pepperoni) The mexican chorizo, on the other hand, is soft and crumbly, a spicy pork sausage that you can find at nearly every grocery store, near the bratwurst and other sausages. I like to mix it with equal parts ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey to make tacos–it adds a whole new level of flavor. It’s more than just heat, though chorizo-based tacos are spicier. The chorizo imparts this intense mexican flavor. Once you try tacos like these, you won’t want to go back!

taco

Chorizo Tacos

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound chorizo mexican sausage
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or whatever you like on your tacos!
  • taco shells (soft shells or hard shells, whichever you like)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo. It will be very crumbly and will render lots of fat. That’s okay. Once the chorizo is mostly cooked, about 10 minutes or so, add the ground beef and continue cooking until browned.

2. In the meantime, prepare your taco shells and other fixings. Hard shells require several minutes in the oven, so don’t forget to preheat.

3. When the meat is cooked through, drain the mixture thoroughly. You want to get as much of the extra fat out as you can, or the tacos will be way too greasy. I don’t like to go so far as to rinse the meat, because you rinse flavor away with the extra grease, but I do use a paper towel to soak up as much as I can. Return to the skillet and follow the directions for your taco seasoning. Even though you’ll have about 2 pounds of meat at this point, you only want to use enough taco seasoning for one pound. Remember: the chorizo half of the meat brought it’s own flavor.

4. When the meat is finished cooking, you’re done. Let everyone assemble their own delicious tacos. Dig in!

Note: It’s worth saying that while the chorizo is quite a bit fattier than using just ground beef, there are some things you can do to lighten the dish, while still getting tasty tacos. 1) I’ve substituted Soyrizo successfully–barely noticed a difference. You’ve probably noticed we’re not much for vegetarian dishes around here. I wouldn’t recommend the Soyrizo if it wasn’t good. 2) The chorizo brings plenty of fat to the mix, which will let you use a lighter ground meat without risking a dry meat mixture. Feel free to use the leanest ground beef you have, or even ground turkey or ground chicken. 3) Even 1/2 pound of chorizo to a full pound of turkey or lean beef makes a difference in the flavor. Feel free to experiment to find your favorite combination.

Spaghetti Sauce

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I’ve been crazy-busy at work lately, traveling at least a couple of days a week. That’s why the blog’s been so quiet–between the actual being on the road part, and the being exhausted when I get home part, there hasn’t been a lot of noteworthy cooking going on. There also hasn’t been a lot of grocery shopping going on. Much of what’s happened lately has been thrown together at the last minute, based on whatever’s in the cabinet.

Which led me to make my own spaghetti sauce. We had tomatoes, tomato paste, shallots, garlic—just no actual spaghetti sauce. I could’ve gone to the store, I guess. But instead, I took the “lazy” way and made the sauce from scratch. It turned out to be quite tasty!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine

Heat the oil and saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, red pepper and wine. Simmer 30 minutes or more over very low heat, stirring occasionally. For meat sauce, add one pound of browned ground beef or cooked Italian sausage. Serve over hot spaghetti noodles.

Mara’s Grilled Cheese Burgers

Monday, May 25th, 2009

There’s been a lot of link love for Mara these days…what can I say? The thing is, ever since she hosted me as a guest for dinner, Leah and I have been talking about her recipe on that same post–Grilled Cheese Burgers. They were just as good as we thought they would be, and really, like Mara said on her site, “restaurant quality.”

It doesn’t seem like there’s anything earth-shattering here, but a little extra seasoning, and some special treatment for the bread made this burger something special!

Mara’s Grilled Cheese Burgers
Adapted from What’s For Dinner?

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Tillamook Medium Cheddar)
  • 2 Tbsp. Cholula hot sauce (but use whatever you like, and to your own tastes)
  • 1 tsp. Adobo seasoning (from The Spice House, of course!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 8 slices rustic bread
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine first six ingredients in a mixing bowl, and using your hands, mix to combine. Do not overmix, or the burgers could come out tough. Divide the meat into four equal-sized patties.

2. Preheat a seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. When skillet is hot, brush the surface of the pan with extra virgin olive oil and place the burgers in the pan. Be careful not to move the burgers around in the pan, until they’re ready to flip. Also, don’t press on the burgers with the spatula–it looks cool, but really, it’s a bad habit, and just helps to make dry burgers. Continue to cook the burgers to desired doneness, flipping once.

3. While the burgers cook, brush the slices of bread on both sides with extra virgin olive oil. I used thick-cut slices of an artisan asiago cheese bread from the grocery store bakery. In a non-stick skillet or grill pan over medium heat, toast the oiled bread. It will need to be flipped once or twice to get good color–you’re looking to get it golden brown like a grilled cheese.

4. Serve the burgers on the toasted bread with slices of avocado and tomatoes. (I subbed mayo for the avocado on mine, but David liked the avocado slices).

Note: Like I said, nothing too out of the ordinary here, or so it seems, but something about the toasted bread and the way the burgers are seasoned made this an extra tasty burger. Because I used thick slices of bread, the toast was crunchy at the edges, but warm and soft in the middle, much better than any standard hamburger bun. The grilled bread made the flavors similar to a patty melt (without all those onions, of course!) but because they were cooked separately, the juices from the burger didn’t have the chance to get the bread all soggy.

In short: I really enjoyed this burger!

P.S. Speaking of burgers–get out there and enjoy one of your own. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Aren’t three day weekends awesome?

Creamy Shepherd’s Pie Bowls

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I have always liked the idea of shepherd’s pie.

I really like ground beef, and casseroles of any kind tend to appeal to me (even though that’s the opposite of how I was raised–very few casseroles show up in my parents’ kitchen). I also like mashed potatoes, and can’t seem to make them without having a bunch of leftovers.

Leftover potatoes is what lead me to shepherd’s pie this time. I read through a bunch of different shepherd’s pie recipes, before deciding how I would make mine.

I really liked the flavor of the dish, but I’ve got to say–the pictures leave something to be desired. Once it came out of the baking dish, it did not look like something you would want to eat, which is why I have no plans to post pictures. If everyone really wants to see, and leaves comments to that effect, I might be persuaded.

That being said, even though it wasn’t pretty, it was very, very tasty.

Creamy Shepherd’s Pie Bowls

For filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 can beef consumme
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mild curry powder

For potato topping:

    • about 4 potatoes, mashed (I used leftovers)
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (we had Gouda on hand, but Parmesan would be good, or anything you like, really)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream

    1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, with garlic powder, salt & pepper, and curry powder. Do not drain the drippings (they will be used to build the sauce).

    2. When the meat is cooked through, add the can of vegetables.  Sprinkle with the flour and stir until everything is evenly coated. Continue cooking for one or two minutes so that the flour is browned, to remove that chalky raw-flour taste.

    3. Add the can of consumme, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until sauce thickens. Pour into a baking dish. (I used a Corningware casserole dish, 2 1/2 quarts. Pyrex would probably work fine here as well.)

    4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees while you prepare the potato topping.

    5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese, and sour cream.

    6. Carefully spread the mashed potato mixture over the top of the meat filling. Spread to the edge of the dish to avoid the sauce leaking out of the dish. Use a fork to add texture to the top of the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until heated all the way through. The mashed potatoes should be brown and crispy at the top and edges.

    Note: I’m calling this a shepherd’s pie bowl (and this is part of the problem with the pictures) because the mashed potatoes kind of ran together with the filling once you scooped it out of the pan. It was delicious, but not really the two separate textures that you expect from a true Shepherd’s Pie. I do have some ideas to correct that, and will try them next time. One is simply more mashed potatoes. A thicker layer of potatoes would have browned better and held up more easily I think. My other idea was to treat the mashed potatoes like a potato pancake batter, adding an egg and a little bit of flour along with the cheese and sour cream. I actually would have done that this time, but we were out of eggs. I’ll definitely be making this again, but I do hope to get the potato crust better next time.

    Meatloaf Muffins

    Sunday, May 10th, 2009

    You’d think for Mother’s Day I’d post about something that my mom at least likes, but nope, not me. I’ve got a schedule around here—I try to write about things in the order we make them, and today, it’s time to talk about Meatloaf. Sorry, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day, though!

    Crazy thing? This is one of those recipes that came off of the Weight Watchers message boards, where it’s been floating around for ever, as far as I can tell. And despite the fact that it starts as a healthy “lightened up” version of meatloaf…in spite of how basic and simple this recipe is, it’s also my favorite meatloaf. It’s moist, and flavorful, with an absolute minimal amount of work.

    The meatloaf mix itself takes some real shortcuts. This is a four ingredient recipe. While I enjoy shortcuts, especially on a weeknight, I usually recognize the trade-off I’m making. Not so, in this case. The ingredients are simple, the assembly couldn’t be easier, and using muffin tins in place of a loaf pan not only shortens the cook time, but builds in portion control (if you’re into that sort of thing).

    img_1966

    Meatloaf Muffins

    • 1 lb ground beef, turkey, pork, or a combination. (I used ground beef, because that’s what we keep on hand).
    • 1 box stove top stuffing, prepared without fat
    • 1 egg (If you want to make this as light as possible, feel free to use 2 egg whites in place of a whole egg)
    • 1/2 cup ketchup

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 6 muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

    2. Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions, omitting the butter or margarine (using only water). Set a side.

    3. In a medium bowl, use your fingers to combine ground beef, egg, and box of stuffing. Mix until everything is combined, but do not over mix. Shape into six muffin size patties, and place into prepared muffin tins.

    4. Top each muffin with 1-2 tablespoons of ketchup. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

    Ravioli Lasagna Fake Out

    Friday, March 6th, 2009

    I like lasagna. And who doesn’t? What I don’t like about lasagna is all of the work involved. I just don’t have the patience for all the layers, etc., especially after working all day. But rather than relegate the whole lasagna concept to the weekends, when I have the time and energy to bother, I started making this quick lasagna casserole dish. Affectionately, we call this “Fake Lasagna,” and it’s really quite good. All the flavor and none of the fuss!

    img_1694

    Ravioli Lasagna Fake-Out (Fake Lasagna)

    • 16 ounce package of cheese ravioli, frozen. (We use the Kirkland brand from Costco)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 regular sized jar of spaghetti sauce
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 pound ground beef, 1/2 pound Italian sausage)
    • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • salt & pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot full of salted water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and the frozen ravioli. Boil for 3-4 minutes, until the ravioli float to the top. Drain and reserve.

    2. In a large skillet, season the ground beef with Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic. Brown and drain. Return to skillet. Stir in the jar of spaghetti sauce.

    3. Spray a 2 or 2 1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Add a spoonful of the spaghetti sauce mixture and spread across the bottom of the dish in a thin layer. (This keeps the pasta from sticking to the dish when you scoop it out later).

    4. Place a single layer of ravioli on top of the sauce. Cover the ravioli with a ladle of the sauce/meat mixture. Sprinkle with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Begin a new layer of ravioli, top with sauce and cheese. Continue in this way until the casserole dish is full. I usually end up with at least 4 layers, but this will depend on how thick your ravioli are. You should end with a final layer of mozzarella cheese.

    5. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella cheese. You like cheese, right?

    David’s Variable Hotness Chili

    Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

    This post isn’t really about making chili. I mean, I’ll tell you how we make chili, and you can choose to follow our recipe. The chili we make around here is good, but not a whole lot better or worse than most other homemade chili, in my experience. (Of course, that could because I grew up in a home that had excellent chili). It’s hard to say.

    This post is about making chili for everyone.

    You see, I am a whimp. No, really, I am. In just about every way possible. I’ll whine about working too much, or being tired, or doing laundry, or doing the dishes. I get hurt when I trip, when I stumble, when I bang my hand on the corner of the kitchen counters, when I hit my head, when I break a nail, when I stub my toe, and when I wear high heels. And of course, when I cut my finger with scissors, a knife, or sheets of paper. I’m clumsy, and I’m whiny, and everything hurts me.

    In related news, I don’t get along well with spicy, spicy foods. I can handle “medium” spiciness on most things, especially if there are mitigating factors like crackers, and cheese, and sour cream. David, on the other hand, prefers spicy, spicy foods. What to do?

    When David first started making chili at his old apartment, he made a large pot of chili and pulled aside a tiny amount for me before he really flavored the batch he and his friends would eat. The good thing was that the chili wasn’t too spicy for me. The bad thing was that my tiny pot of chili was actually pretty bland, even by my standards. The other bad thing was that I never got in on any of the leftovers–one of the best parts of a big pot of chili!

    So David thought and he thought and he finally came up with the solution. Put the hot “on the side.” So that’s what we do. David dices up every kind of chile imaginable (at least every kind that our grocery store can imagine) and lets them stew in their own small crockpot all day long. The result is a very spicy blend of delicious chile flavor that can be added to the larger pot of chili as you like. I usually skip it entirely, but David includes a couple of large spoonfuls per bowl of chili. Saner people might add just a spoonful.

    This whole method is especially awesome for having people over for chili. It’s hard to please everyone, right? This makes it easier.

    img_1646

    David’s “Variable Hotness” Chili

    For the Chili:

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 pound of other ground meat (we usually use 1/2 pound of ground pork and 1/2 pound of ground buffalo meat, for a total of 2 pounds of meat)
    • 1 large can of “hot” chili beans
    • 1 large can of “mild” chili beans
    • 1 large can of tomato juice (divided)
    • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder

    1. In a large stock pot, brown the ground meat together. When browned, drain the fat from the skillet.

    2. Add the next 4 ingredients to the pot and heat over medium heat. There is no need to drain the beans or tomatoes. I usually start with about half a can of tomato juice at this point. You may want to add more later, but remember to save some for the chile peppers.

    3. Add the spices one at a time, stirring after each ingredient. This usually involves David and I both standing at the stove, adding and tasting, adding and tasting.

    4. Transfer to a crockpot and let simmer on low until it’s time to eat. If your crockpot runs on the hotter side, you may want to start on low and then flip it to warm, since everything has been cooked through.

    For the Chiles (The “Variable Hotness” part):

    • 3-4 jalapeno peppers
    • 2 poblano peppers
    • 1 cubanelle pepper
    • 3 habanero peppers
    • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice (from the large can above)

    1. Clean, seed, and dice all of the peppers. If you’ve never worked with these kinds of peppers before, I suggest wearing disposable latex gloves. It keeps the dangerous spicy chemicals off of your hands completely. Once you get that much heat on your hands, it can be really hard to wash off completely. If you use disposable gloves, you don’t have to worry about accidentally touching your eyes or something. That would suck.

    2. Put the peppers and tomato juice in the bowl of a small crockpot. The baby ones, used for keeping dips warm, work well here. Simmer on low until the peppers are soft. We usually let this stew all day.

    When you serve the chili, let everyone add their own level of heat by mixing in the warm, spicy pepper sauce.

    Note: I don’t serve chili without plenty of sour cream, grated cheese, and oyster crackers, but do what you like. The last time we made chili, I also made those delicious corn muffins, which was a perfect compliment.