Apron Free Cooking ~ A Different Kind of Sloppy Joes
By Noel Lizotte
We’ve had a few cool nights, fall is on the way. The leaves in the maple tree out front have started turning red. The local high school football field is busy on Friday nights. Yes, it’s fall!
As the weather starts to cool off, I start thinking about warm suppers. I’ve also been doing some more “batch cooking”. When I use the term, I mean that I’m spending one block of time preparing similar ingredients that can be used in different recipes.
This week, I made a good buy on ground beef. I bought a 5 pound package, for what I considered a fair price. The good deal sat in my fridge taking up a good amount of space for a day while I decided how I was going to use all that meat. Remember, I’m cooking for two now, not a family of four including two teenagers!
I decided to divide the hamburger into three parts and cook it up. I got out my big cast iron skillet and put one third the meat in to brown. I chopped up an onion, and added some to the hamburger. When the first portion was cooked, I set it to drain and started the second portion of hamburger and onion. I repeated with the third portion.
We’ll be having the first portion fixed up for sandwiches that we call Mushroom Joes.
1 lb Ground Beef
1 med. Onion
1 can (10 oz) Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can (4 oz) sliced Mushrooms, drained
Cook the hamburger and chopped onion until the meat is browned. Drain the beef mixture and add the soup and mushrooms. Stir all together. Serve on buns.
Make it a meal: Dress up your sandwich with a slice of cheese. Serve with chips, French fries or salad.
Approximate Nutritional Value per serving: Servings Per Recipe: 8, Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178, Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 110mg, Total Carbs: 6g, Protein: 16g.
This dish is easily portable, place the meat in your crock pot and you’re ready to travel to the tail gate party! The mushroom flavor is a nice change from traditional Sloppy Joes and goes over well with the family.
I’ll use the other two portions of browned beef and onions later this week. One portion will be added to spaghetti sauce and served over raviolis. The third portion may well end up in a chili pot or traditional Sloppy Joes. We’ll see what mood strikes me!
Meanwhile, after the portions had cooled, I spooned them meat into large zip top bags and sealed them tight. Lying flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen makes them easy to store. I’ve found the flat packages are easy to stand on end in a plastic crate in the deep freezer. Then I can pull one at a time out to use without having an avalanche of frozen food.
Batch cooking by simply doing the initial prep work of browning the hamburger will save time down the road when I need to fix supper in a hurry. All I have to do is add the meat to a sauce and heat it up. If I’m thinking ahead in the morning, I’ll pull a package from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw during the day. Supper can be ready in the amount of time it takes to boil some spaghetti noodles!
Noel Lizotte is breaking free of corporate stress with convenience cooking! This recipe is similar to ones printed in her cookbook Apron Free Cooking which is available on the website www.apronfreecooking.com. She also writes a monthly column at www.culinarychat.net.