Better Each Day

The fridge and kitchen cabinets around here are getting pretty bare. It is making dinnertime more difficult this week, but Greg and I are finally getting through some nonperishable and frozen foods that have been filling up space for so long now. It is nice to actually see some of it disappear rather than let it uselessly sit on the shelves another day. 
I didn’t plan it this way, but this method is saving on the grocery bill and also helping de-clutter before we leave for Christmas next week. It’s a win-win situation.
See that tiny slice of pizza there? That was my dinner Monday night. Neither Greg or I felt like cooking  the little food we did have, and despite my insistance on wanting to eat a healthy dinner, Greg made the executive decision to heat up a frozen DiGiorno. In order to keep my commitment to healthy eating this week, I limited myself to one serving of the pizza: 1/6 of the pie. I steamed some baby carrots to eat on the side. Like that helped. Ha!
The pizza was amazing, no surprise there, but I was left unsatisfied with such a small amount.
I made sure to change things for Tuesday’s dinner.
Harris Teeter’s subs are delish and enormoussss. And when it’s free that makes it ten times for delish. How did I get it for free, you ask? Well with their VIC card they keep track of every time you buy a sub from their deli. You get one point for every half sub, and when you get 15 points, you get a free WHOLE sub (so enough for Greg AND me). 
I don’t really know how the sub points on Greg and my’s VIC card have been going up and up for the past month or two, because neither of us have been buying them. But somehow we had more than 15 points racked up and cashed them in for a free, much more satisfying than the one slice of DiGiorno, dinner. I realize although it was more satisfying, it was probably also about double the calories. But it was whole wheat bread and loaded with veggies. Whatever I have to tell myself, right? 😉
Then there was last night. 
Healthy and satisfying. AND I finally cooked the lemon-herb pre-seasoned chicken breasts in my freezer. 
I baked the breasts, topped with a little bit of cheese, then made it into a sandwich on a whole wheat bun. For a side, I sauteed sliced yellow squash, zucchini and onion. 
Dinner on Monday didn’t turn out so great, but each night has gotten better and better. At this rate, I should be having dinner at a five-star restaurant by the time Sunday rolls around!

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 
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
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.