My latest expedition in cooking was a slow-cook recipe. I am infamously poor about reading directions, this cooking escapade was no different. I had retrieved the recipe online from someplace. When I get recipes I look at two things, the title and the ingredients. If it sounds enticing then I’ll check out the ingredients. If it doesn’t seem too over my head or have too many things I don’t like I’ll grab it. This recipe was for Sloppy Joes. I haven’t had Sloppy Joes in for-ev-er. Sounded like a match made in heaven, also my parents were coming up for dinner – even better since the recipe made 8 servings, which meant I’d have left overs for about half the time, very enticing indeed.
Two nights ago I was stricken with a dilemma. To cook it through the night before or cook it during the day. I know, decisions decisions. I browsed the directions for the word ‘hours’ to see how long it’d cook in the crock. It said 6-8. I finally decided to cook it during the day and didn’t prep anything that night. Yesterday morning I woke up with a nagging feeling. I had to decide if I wanted to throw everything together over an early lunch break or throw it together in the am and take a late lunch to take it off the heat. Again I decided to wait until lunch but compromised by deciding to get it all prepped before going to work. I am so glad I did. I had completely ignored the part where I was suppose to brown the meat before putting it in the crock pot. WHY does it call it a crock-pot recipe when, really, it just acts as a warmer.
Semantics aside, I started browning meat. Once that was done I actually read the instructions and started mixing the sauce ingredients. When it came time to add ketchup I opened up the fridge and where I thought it should be there was nothing but pickle relish and Worcestershire sauce. I don’t even like pickles and who has Worcestershire sauce? Further background: when I was five if it was late at night and I wanted a midnight snack I would grab a piece of bread, squirt some ketchup on it, fold it in half and eat it. That was it, no deli meat, nothing, just ketchup. How do I go from that background to having absolutely no ketchup in the house? I don’t know, it’s most likely due to the fact I don’t have food that requires ketchup in the kitchen. But that is neither here nor there and, once again, I’m glad I live four blocks from the grocery store.
Shockingly no one was in the store about twenty minutes after it opened. I jumped out of my skin a little when the cashier came up behind me while I waited for someone to come check me out. In case my workout didn’t wake me up, that jolt certainly did. I returned home, used up a fair share of the ketchup and got the sauce ready before adding the meat. The rest of the escapade went off with out much incident. I returned at noon to start the warming process, only that too made me nervous. The recipe didn’t call for water to be added, but I really didn’t want it to dry out. Throwing caution to the wind I added 1/2 cup of water and it ended up working just fine.
As I mentioned in my post earlier today, I have discussed with my parents about implementing weekly dinners. We had sort of done this when I lived with them years ago, but that was more so I could A) feel like I was contributing by supplying one of the meals entirely on my own and B) get some cooking experience. My middle sister was able to join us and much fun was had by all. We started watching a Hercule Poirot movie but stopped half-way through (we were all getting sleepy). Perhaps next week will finish it up. It’s quite amusing, but I noticed something watching this movie that I never noticed before. In the past I have seen Poirot movies (namely Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express) and never noticed Hastings. I’m not sure if I just didn’t notice the character or if he isn’t in those movies. Last night we were watching Thirteen at Dinner and for the first time I met Hastings. Hastings is Poroit’s partner. He takes notes, is less intelligent and is an ex-army person of some sort. Sound familiar? Seems like a slight play off Watson. However I’m 100% sure that that is looking at it through an extremely simplified light, just an interesting observation (to no one else but me).
Oh, for the recipe itself here it is.
- 3 pounds lean ground beef (I used 96%)
- 1 white onion, chopped
- some garlic (original recipe called for 3 cloves minced and I had garlic powder…I might have used a tablespoon or so)
- 1 1/4 cups ketchup
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons mustard (the original recipe called for ‘prepared’ mustard. I didn’t really know what that meant so I just used the honey mustard I had on hand.)
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (original recipe called for 2 teaspoons chili powder but I had the flakes and cayenne on hand so I used that instead)
- Hamburger buns (I heated mine in the oven before serving)
Directions (which you can choose to read or not)
- Cook and stir ground beef, onion and garlic in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned and onion is tender.
- Drain and discard fat.
- Combine ketchup, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, vinegar and chili powder in 4 1/2-quart slow cooker.
- Stir in beef mixture. (I then refrigerated mine for 4 hours)
- Cover; cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours. (I added about 1/2 – 3/4 cup water when I removed it from the fridge and started the slow cooker. I ended up heating mine for about six hours, maybe a little less.)
- To serve, spoon mixture onto hamburger buns.
There you have it, an adventure in cooking, which is always a joy. Also, a photo of the final result. My leftovers at lunch show that the recipe may have lead me astray. The recipe said there would be 8 servings, which if you’re a carnivore may be true. However this omnivore leans to the herbi side and I think expecting me to eat more than 1/4 pound of ground beef is optimistic. Looks more like 12 servings to me (given 3 pounds of meat is a good ratio I think). Until next time ~ Q