Tuesday, September 20, 2011

'Joes and 'Toes

I love sloppy joes. When I was younger, I hated them. I unfortunately had a Manwich one time and it totally grossed me out. (What's in those things anyway?) I guess in my tiny brain I figured that's how all sloppy joes tasted and I was not going to deal with that as a meal option ever again.

Then, one day, Mom decided to make sloppy joes from the little spice packet. And you know? They weren't too bad. My hatred therefore subsided, and sloppy joes and I were totally cool with each other.

I wanted to make a fun dinner for BC and my parents last Friday so I decided to make sloppy joes, fried green tomatoes, and sweet potato french fries.

DISCLAIMER: There is no set recipe for the sweet potato french fries. I have made sweet potato french fries forever, and love them too. I usually cut them up in little strips, toss them in olive oil and Tony Chachere's, and cook them at 425 degrees for like 15 minutes. I saw something on Pinterest that said to toss them in cornstarch first to make them crunchy from the oven. Tried it. Ended up with cornstarch-y tasting fries. BOO.

The fried green tomatoes were a first time try for me. They turned out great!

Sloppy Joes
(as adapted from Plain Chicken)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 Tb. onion powder
1 14-oz. can tomato sauce
3 Tb. yellow mustard
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. taco seasoning (my own personal mix)

Place the meat into a pan and sprinkle onion powder all over it. Brown meat. Drain if any rendered fat. Add in the tomato sauce and remaining ingredients. Heat to medium heat and then reduce for 10 minutes. Taste mixture and adjust seasonings to taste. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Its important to let this mixture cook for a while before you add in more seasonings. I discovered that the taste actually changed the longer that it cooked. The longer it cooked the better it tasted!!

Fried Green Tomatoes
(adapted from My Recipes)

2 green tomatoes
bacon grease (I know, I know)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp Tony Chacheres (or whatever seasonings you like)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Take the bacon grease and put a couple teaspoon fulls in the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Turn on the stove top to medium low and allow that to melt. Then add in some cooking oil (I used peanut) to have just enough to fry in. (I added enough that the tomatoes could just barely be pushed under the surface and be completely covered by the oil when cooking.)

Whisk together the egg and buttermilk and set aside. Stir together flour, cornmeal, and seasonings.

Dip a slice of tomato in buttermilk mixture and then into the flour mixture. Make sure the slice is completely covered by the flour mixture. Slowly drop the tomato slice into the hot oil. I was able to fit about 4 slices in the pan at a time to ensure even cooking.

Extra salt and pepper when they come out of the oven!

**I used regular yellow cornmeal for these. The original recipe called for cornbread mix, white probably would have been less coarse, and possibly more tasty, but I wasn't about to break open one of my little cornbread mixes without using all of it!

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