Mushy Joes

Early last Fall, I finally gave in to one of the America’s Test Kitchen promotional emails and ordered a free trial copy of Cook’s Country magazine. We didn’t end up subscribing to it because we chose to go with the slightly less country-sounding Cook’s Illustrated.

There is one recipe in particular in this particular copy of Cook’s Country (October/November, 2009) that has become a Kitchen Post favorite. It is especially a Mrs Kitchen Post favorite.

Reduced-Fat Sloppy Joes

Or, as I like to call them Mushy Joes

The good people at America’s Test Kitchen were able to reduce the calorie count of a traditional sloppy joe (570 calories) all the way down to 300 calories per Joe. How? Largely by replacing some of the meat with… wait for it… mushrooms!

First off, saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes in a little bit of vegetable oil.

Then, dump them into your food processor.

Pulse them until they appear crumbled.

Mix the mushroom crumble with some onions and a sauce mixture and simmer.

Finally, add the beef.

And continue cooking until the beef is brown.

Mushy Joe!

Reduced-Fat Sloppy Joes (adapted from Cook’s Country)
serves 4 to 5

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
8-oz pkg of sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cider vinegar
12 oz lean ground beef
Salt & Pepper
hamburger buns

Steps:

  • Heat 1 tsp oil over med high heat in large nonstick skillet
  • Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 min
  • Transfer to food processor and pulse until mushrooms are crumbled
  • Heat remaining oil in an empty skillet (one with a cover available)
  • Cook onion and crumbled mushrooms, covered, stirring occasionally, about 8-12 minutes
  • Stir in chili powder and cook for another 30 seconds
  • Add tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar, water and vinegar
  • Simmer over med low heat until vegetables are completely tender and sauce is somewhat thick. 10-15 minutes
  • Add the beef and simmer until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Divide among buns and serve!

Packer Playoff Loss Dinner: from Cooking Light magazine

Quick weekend-closing post.

During halftime of a fairly exciting, but ultimately somewhat heartbreaking, Packer playoff loss, we whipped together a recipe from this month’s Cooking Light magazine.

The Menu (as suggested in the magazine – follow that link for a great picture)

Seared Lamb with Balsamic Sauce

Cracked Wheat–Currant Pilaf: Sauté 1½ cups quick-cooking bulgur in 2 teaspoons butter over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add 1½ cups water and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in 3 tablespoons dried currants and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Spicy Chard: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper and 2 minced garlic cloves; sauté 30 seconds. Add 8 cups chopped Swiss chard and ¼ cup chicken broth; cover and cook 8 minutes.

The Verdict

This is probably only the third or fourth time that I’ve even cooked lamb chops, but given their ease of cooking and their great flavor (even without the sauce), I won’t hesitate to make them again. I will, however, wait until they’re on sale since this is not a cheap meat.

As for the side dishes, the cracked wheat-currant pilaf had a nice flavor, but it was definitely the base in this meal. The spicy chard, on the other hand, had a really nice kick to it.

Snowy Dinner – Cauliflower, Bacon & Parmesan Frittata

It’s been snowing all day in Milwaukee, so it seemed silly to make a trip to the grocery store for the final ingredients for the Cauliflower Soup we’ve been meaning to try. But, it also meant coming up with a dinner from random stuff in our refrigerator. The cauliflower was still there, and we had some eggs. Time for a frittata.

Based on our on-hand ingredients, I adjusted the recipe I found on MyRecipes.com. The key substitutions: turkey bacon for the bacon (beware, you won’t get much fat to cook the rest of the frittata in this way) and fat-free milk for the light cream.

It was a surprisingly tasty dinner. The cauliflower was nice and soft, more chewy than crunchy, and a slice of homemade bread made a fine side item.

Cauliflour, Bacon and Parmesan Frittata

Adapted from Food & Wine (via myRecipes.com)

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2.5 oz turkey bacon
5 large eggs
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
pinch freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 small head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, until cooked. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to cool. Pour off any grease in the pan (with turkey bacon, there may not be any grease to pour off, normal bacon would definitely be fattier)
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the eggs, milk, Parmesan, parsley and pepper with a whisk. Add the cooled bacon.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium high heat.
  4. Add the cauliflower and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, until cauliflower is golden and softened.
  5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
  6. Spread the cauliflower evenly across the pan and pour the egg mixture over the top. Tilt the pan to spread the egg mixture to all sides.
  7. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until bottom of frittata is golden brown and top is almost set.
  8. Heat broiler. Broil the frittata 6 inches from the heat, if possible, until eggs are set and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
  9. Lift up the edge of the frittata with a spatula and slide onto a plate. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.