What I’m Loving Wednesday (8-29-12)

It’s about that time for another WILW post, dontcha think?

1. Two nights in a row of cooking some of my favorite tried and true recipes.

Sloppy Joes, that I’m renaming Super Spicy Sloppy Joes. I used less spice and hot sauce than my recipe called for and my mouth was still on fire two bites into the sandwich.

Morning Star Copycat Black Bean Burgers with homemade guacamole and corn on the cob? Ohmuhgosh. I could eat this every single night.
2. This. This is what I call Heaven in a Cardboard Container. Have you tried any of Duff’s (aka the Cake Boss’s) Blue Bunny ice cream flavors yet? This Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake ice cream is to die for. I bought this on my dinner break while working a late shift last week and it’s safe to say this is only thing that kept me going at my desk until 10pm.

3. A coffee mug filled with hot oatmeal. Don’t forget the sliced bananas and chai seeds! This is how I’ve been starting my workday for the past two weeks. I’ve gotten in a poor habit of sleeping until the last minute and not having quite enough time to eat my breakfast at home. Solution? Bring my oatmeal to work in a mug! 
4. Oh look, it’s my Lost Dog Cafe mug again! I sure do put that thing to use. After cleaning the oatmeal out of it, I fill it with what it’s actually meant for- Coffee! These rainy days call for a warm and comforting afternoon snack like a hot cup of coffee and a chocolatey Good Greens bar (Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor). 

5. Out of all of this foodie goodness, the thing I am loving most about this Wednesday is that it’s my last full day here in Charleston before my trip HOME!! Tomorrow evening, Greg and I will be hopping on a plane to Columbus for a full weekend of cake tastings, meetings with the caterer, engagement pictures and some much needed family time. I. Can’t. Wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aren’t we precious? 😉

Not Your Average Sloppy Joe

Remember how I said I’m such a girly-girl?

I made an exception.
Sloppy Joes aren’t exactly the most ladylike food. But I don’t have the appetite of your average lady either (MUCH bigger). 
I always rely on Greg to make requests for what I should cook and Sloppy Joes were a no-brainer. A big Sloppy Joe (or two) is probably his favorite dinner. I think it would be safe to say I was always much too picky of an eater in the years before I met Greg to have even tried one of these messy sandwiches before. Ever since I discovered their tastiness, I have been sticking to the Manwich canned Sloppy Joe sauce. After Greg put the request in writing up on our refrigerator, I knew it was time to try something more advanced. 
Enter: The Pioneer Woman. I knew I could trust her recipe and I already had most of the ingredients on hand. 

After browning the meat, you want to add the chopped vegetables and spices. Then just that sloppiness simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, it was time to start the side dish: Sauteed squash.

This really can’t get much easier. Slice up some zucchini and yellow squash, throw them on a skillet with olive oil over medium heat, and let cook for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to allow for even cooking. When just about done, shake some salt and pepper over top. 
Now back to the main event.

The Sloppy Joes. I added extra hot sauce and chili powder to the meat while it cooked, because dinner without extra hot sauce just isn’t dinner to Greg. I like my foods relatively spicy these days as well. 
I also toasted our buns. Yes, I TOASTED our BUNS. I know how silly that sounds. But it adds a nice touch to the finished sandwich. 
Speaking of buns – I have been buying our sandwich buns straight from the grocery store bakery recently. It may cost a little more than the generic brand 8-pack, but I HATE wasting food more than anything. And we can never, ever seem to finish a whole 8-pack of buns. So I spend about the same amount of money to buy only the amount that we need. But at least we’re not being wasteful 🙂 And they taste more like the buns you get in a restaurant, also a plus.
The bakery had a limited selection/quantity so we had to mix-and-match with both white and wheat buns. Greg had one of each. I had a single sandwich on wheat. I think either type would be just as good as the other. 

With all of the stress from work over the past week or two, it was so relaxing to spend some time cooking in the kitchen again. And not just throwing a turkey wrap or salad together, but really taking my time and cooking an entire hot meal from start to finish.
It was only icing on the cake to have it turn out so perfectly. It really was perfect. Even if I didn’t have that cold glass of white wine 😉
Now…can someone get me some of that cake I was just talking about??? A spoonful of icing will work too. 
Sloppy Joes
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
Makes about 4 sandwiches 
Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 yellow or white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
4 sandwich buns
1-2 tablespoons butter
Directions:
1. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain and discard grease.
2. Add bell pepper, onions and garlic to meat. Stir ingredients and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder and water to skillet. Stir to combine and turn heat to low. Add red pepper flakes, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Continue to stir and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. 
4. Meanwhile, spread buns with butter and toast in oven at 325 degrees for about 5 minutes. 
5. Spoon meat mixture over the toasted buns and serve.