Whether you are trying to buy less meat in general or you have some leftover ground beef and are wondering what to do with it, this is a great recipe for you. It's a full 4 servings of sloppy joes but it only uses about 1/2 pound ground beef. Shredded carrots and kidney beans add bulk to the mixture, saving you both money and calories without sacrificing flavor.
In other news, I really am trying to post more often, but there has been a ton going on! My sister is getting married soon, I am now 6 1/2 months pregnant, and now we're MOVING to the Seattle area in August! Big changes and lots to do. We've found a place to rent up there and we've started purging and selling tons of stuff we've accumulated over the years in anticipation of the move. It's a nesting pregnant woman's dream, seriously.
We've been cooking a lot of easy meals lately, including a few that involved Tasty Bites. Have you ever heard of these? They are two-serving packets of pre-cooked Indian food for quick, easy meals. I tried them because they were on sale at the Co-op. You can also just buy sauce packets, where you provide the meat and veggies and cook them in the sauce. For the entrees/side dish packets, you can cook them in the microwave or in a pot of boiling water on the stove. What I like about these products is that the ingredient list is very short, and it's all real food and spices, no weird additives or preservatives. These would be great to take on a camping trip too.
Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes
adapted from Cooking Light / Mark Bittman - May 2010 issue
Note: The recipe calls for 6 ounces of ground sirloin, but whenever I make it, I'm trying to finish up the other half of a 1 pound package, so I use 8 ounces in my version. You could definitely go to the meat counter at your grocery store and just buy 6 ounces though.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6-8 ounces ground sirloin
1/2 cup grated carrot (press out moisture with paper towels if freshly grating it yourself)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if available
1 (15.5-ounce) can low sodium red kidney beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
4 (2-ounce) whole wheat sandwich rolls, split and toasted
Thinly sliced red onions, separated into rings
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and beef to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the beef, until the meat is browned and onion is tender (if using a ground beef that is not as lean as sirloin, you might want to start with less oil).
Add the carrot, and the remaining spices and cook for another two minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrot is tender and the mixture has thickened.
Partially mash 1 cup of the beans in a bowl with a fork. Add the mashed beans plus the remaining whole beans to the pan and cook for another minute or two to heat through. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Pile a big scoop of the meat mixture onto the bottom half of a toasted roll, add some onion slices, then finish with the top half of the roll. Serve immediately.