Tag Archives: Ground Beef

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe


Sloppy Joes… the name brings back memories of cans of Manwich served on fluffy while hamburger buns.  It is comfort food at its finest.  We have been looking for a good sloppy joe recipe for a while now.  Having jumped off the processed food train a while back, Manwich was no longer on the table for us.  So in the name of research, we have made multiple batches of the slop, tweaking recipes this way and that.  Unfortuntately, none of them have measured up to what we were looking for.  Namely, beef that is flavorful, not to dry but not too saucy, and most importantly, more interesting than hamburger flavored ketchup. 

(starting in top left, going clockwise) The Ingredients, The Blender, The Veggies, and Sloppy Joe himself


This recipe has everything we have been looking for.  The sauce is complex, tomato-y with depth from Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and molasses, and rich with onions, garlic, and pepper.  Hot sauce adds a little spice, feel free to add more if you like it hot, or take it out entirely if you want a mild Joe.  So the next time you get a hankering for a reminder of childhood, ditch the can and try these Sloppy Joes instead. 

Sloppy Joes 

Recipe followed almost exactly from Gourmet Today 


 1 1/2 tbls olive oil 

1 medium onion, chopped 

1 celery rib, chopped 

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 lb ground beef 

1 – 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes 

1/4 cup ketchup 

1 tbls molasses 

1 tbls cider vinegar 

1 tbls Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp hot sauce 

To Make: 

Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, red bell pepper, and garlic.  Stir occasionally and cook until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Add in the ground beef, breaking up the large lumps with a wooden spoon and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, combine the can of tomatoes (with juice), ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a blender.  Puree until smooth. 

Add the tomato mixture to the ground beef mixture.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, leave it uncovered and let to cook until the thickened, about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

To Serve: 

You can serve these on a bun, ala traditional Sloppy Joes.  Or, you can divert from tradition and serve the meat over hot buttermilk biscuits.  Serves 4.


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“Juicy Lucy” Burgers

Juicy Lucy Burger

When we are sitting around in the evening, after Thing 1 and 2 have gone to bed, we often find ourselves watching television shows about food.  While daytime food TV is usually about cooking, nighttime seems to be more about competition.  Who can cook the best food under time pressure?  Can that guy really eat 7 lbs of beef in under 2o minutes? 

Assembling the burgers

One evening, while watching Man vs. Food, we saw a yummy looking burger called the Juicy Lucy.  Instead of topping a hamburger with cheese, the Juicy Lucy has a slice of cheese sandwiched between two thin burger patties.  We were intrigued.  Cheeseburgers are generally awesome, but put the cheese inside the burger so when you bite into it, you get a mouthful of molten cheese, sign me up. 

Ready to cook

There isn’t much of a recipe here, more of a technique.  Basically, you take really thin hamburger patties and crimp them together around some cheese.  Cook them however you like and bam, you have a delicious cheesy burger.

Fry 'em up

Juicy Lucy Burgers


1 lb ground beef

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

4 oz colby jack cheese, thinly sliced

To Make:

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Divide the beef into eight equal portions.  Using your hands, form each portion into a very thin pattie.  Top four of the patties with about one ounce of the thinly sliced cheese.  Place the cheese in the center of the pattie, leaving an edge all around.    Top with the remaining four patties.  Using your fingers, tightly crimp the stacked hamburger patties together, sealing the cheese inside.

Cook ’em the way that you like ’em…. grill, broil, pan fry, your choice.  

To Serve:

 Top them with whatever suits your fancy or enjoy them as is.  As far as we are concerned, anything goes when it comes to burgers.  Makes 4, 1/4 lb burgers.

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Russian Cabbage Soup

Russian Cabbage Soup

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  We went to my mom’s and spent a few days with her and all of my siblings (there are 5 of us).  It was a lot of fun and there was a lot of food.  After four days of eating nothing but pies, cookies, brownies, whipped cream, mac and cheese, stuffed shells, and of course, turkey with all the fixings, Marc and I were feeling a little like we had food hangovers.  Arriving back home, we both felt the need to detox a little.  For us, this means eating things like soup, fresh bread, and lots of vegetables.

Soup ingredients

Personally, I couldn’t stop thinking about cabbage soup.  While that may seem like a strange thing to obsess about, I just knew that it was exactly what I needed to cure my food hangover.  I went searching on the Internet to find myself a recipe.  I started with one of my favorite food blogger sites, Smitten Kitchen.  Indeed, there was a very interesting recipe for cabbage soup.  Using that as my starting point, I found a few other recipes with interesting components that I incorporated. 

Chopped vegetables

The result is a hearty and delicious cabbage soup with tomato, celery, carrots, onion, and (obviously) cabbage.  Beef and beef stock add meaty flavor while the inclusion of sauerkraut and some white wine vinegar add a pleasing tanginess.  The vegetables are cooked but still retain some of their texture.  While this soup takes a little while to make, it is really easy.  Served with some crusty bread, it is the perfect meal for a wintery Sunday dinner… and an excellent way to rebound from the holiday gluttony. 

Simmering soup

Russian Cabbage Soup


4 cups beef stock

4 cups water

1 lb ground beef

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon marjoram

3 whole allspice berries

1 cup sauerkraut plus 2 tbls juice

1 medium potato, diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

3 ribs celery, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cups fresh cabbage, thinly shredded (about half a large head of cabbage)

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained (or 1 lb fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped)

2 tbls white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a large soup pot, bring stock and water to a boil.  Add bay leaves, marjoram, and allspice.  Break the ground beef into small pieces and add it to the pot.  Turn the heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one hour.

Remove the ground beef and set aside.  Skim off most of the fat from the stock.  Add the sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the potato and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, and tomatoes (including the juice) and simmer for 20 minutes.  Return the beef to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the sauerkraut juice, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve:

Serve hot with additional vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and/or sour cream as desired.  Serves 6-8.


Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes, Soup, Vegetables

Meat Pie

Meat Pie

The other night we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner.  We had some ground beef, a few vegetables from our last CSA delivery, and the desire to do something a little different.  It was a cold and rainy day so both of us were in the mood for something warm and homey. 

Veggies sauteing

Marc suggested Shepard’s Pie but I generally find it to be pretty bland and uninteresting.  I thought about making a version of pot pie using a piece of puff pastry as the top crust but  Marc wanted a bottom crust too.  We finally struck an interesting compromise… use shredded potato cooked until crispy as the bottom crust, a savory meat filling in the middle, and a piece of puff pastry as a top crust.  Bake the whole thing in a cast iron skillet so there isn’t a lot of clean up and you have yourself an easy weeknight meal.

Meat filling

Ready for the oven






The meat is mixed with Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and fresh dill and parsley.  Chopped carrots, onions, and garlic add additional flavor and vegetable goodness.  Dried mushrooms add depth and savory flavor.  Puff pastry tops the whole thing with a light and flaky crust.   Feel free to spice up the meat with other herbs, spices, or hot sauce if you want.

Ready for dinner

Meat Pie


2 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 lb ground beef

1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms

8 oz beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon fresh dill

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 1 anchovy fillet finely minced)

1 tbls Worcestershire Sauce

salt and pepper to taste

3 medium potatoes, peeled

1 sheet puff pastry, remove from the freezer at least 30 minutes before you are ready to use

To Make:

Bring the beef stock to a boil and add in the dried mushrooms.  Remove from the heat and set aside while the mushrooms rehydrate, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. 

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan and add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the garlic, onion and carrot.  Cook until starting to soften and brown, about 10 minutes.  Add in the ground beef, cook until no longer pink.  Add in the beef stock along with the mushrooms, Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste, and anchovy paste.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the dill, parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Meanwhile, working on a lightly floured board, roll out the puff pastry sheet to cover the pan by 2 inches around.  Trim the puff pastry into a circle (leaving that 2 inch overhang).

Grate the potatoes with the coarse side of a box grater.  Using cheese cloth or a clean kitchen towel, squeeze the water out of the grated potatoes.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an oven safe pan (we like cast iron) over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the potatoes and use a spatula to press the them into an even layer in the bottom of the pan.  Cook 7 minutes.  Flip the potato over to the second side and turn off the heat. 

Spread the meat mixture on the potatoes.  Place the puff pastry over the meat and tuck the edges in.  Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is hot.

To Serve:

Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.  Serves 4.

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Greek Inspired Meatloaf with Tomato Jam

Meatloaf - Cooked and Ready to Serve

Greek Inspired Meatloaf with Tomato Jam

When the weather gets colder, it seems like classic comfort foods start to get a lot more attention in our kitchen.  I don’t think anyone could argue that meatloaf is about as classic as it gets.  The problem with meatloaf though, is that I really didn’t like it much when I was growing up.  I never had a hankering for meatloaf, never ordered it in diners, and I never really got excited when someone cooked it for me.  My biggest problem with meatloaf was that all too often it was a dry hunk of rather tasteless beef topped with a sickly sweet ketchup sauce.  Did I mention that I don’t really care much for mass-produced ketchup either? 

Then I met my husband, a bone fide meatloaf lover.  He likes to get creative with meatloaf and suddenly I found myself *gasp* enjoying the creations he concocted.  Meatloaf with pepperoni and bacon, meatloaf with a cheesy layer in the middle, meatloaf with lots of spices and nary a spoonful of ketchup in sight.  His meatloaf is never dry; his secret ingredient is evaporated milk.  It sounds strange but it keeps the meatloaf moist without making it soupy. 

Half the Meatloaf in the pan with the Feta Cheese Layer

Meat and feta cheese layer

We developed this meatloaf because we were looking to recreate a delicious moussaka we made earlier in the summer.  The spice combination was very tasty and we felt that it would translate well to a meatloaf.  We made this with ground beef but if there had been any ground lamb in the house, we definitely would have included it as well.  Combine the ground beef with moussaka spices, a layer of feta cheese, and top with a spiced tomato jam and you have a meatloaf that even I can get behind.

Meatloaf ready for the oven topped with Tomato Jam

Meatloaf ready to bake

Greek Inspired Meatloaf


About 1 lb ground beef or a mix of ground beef and ground lamb

1 small red onion, finely chopped

4 oz evaporated goat’s milk (you can substitute regular evaporated milk if desired)

1 egg

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

salt and pepper to taste

 1/2 cup bread crumbs

4 oz feta cheese – crumbled

1 recipe Tomato Jam (see below)

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 375F.  In a medium bowl combine the red onion, egg, evaporated goats milk, and the tomato paste.  Use your wicked (awesome) whisk to mix.  Add in the spices and bread crumbs and whisk to combine.  Add the ground meat and mix by hand until just integrated.    Be gentle and don’t overmix or the loaf will be tough.  Form the ground beef into a ball and divide in half.  Using a meatloaf pan (a basic loaf pan with a false bottom) or a loaf pan, layer half the meat and sprinkle with the feta cheese.

Top with the remaining meat and spread the tomato jam on the top. Bake the loaf in oven for 50 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads between 155F and 170F.  The loaf should rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

To Serve:

This meatloaf serves four people.

Tomato Jam

Adapted from a recipe in the New York Times


About 1 lb of fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped

1/2 – 2/3 cup sugar (we used 2/3 cup and it was pretty sweet, use less sugar for a less sweet jam)

Juice of half a lemon

2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Rounded 1/2 tsp cumin

Rounded 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

To Make:

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan set over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has the consistency of thick jam.  About 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Filed under Meat, Recipes