All-time Most Popular Posts

This Week's Most Popular Posts

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zesty Sloppy Joes!

Who loves sloppy joes?!  I do, I do!!!  I absolutely love sloppy joes!  There are few American beef dishes, if any, that are anywhere near as tempting as a well-made sloppy joe.  After watching Rachel Ray make sloppy lou's on "Week in a Day" a few weeks ago, I absolutely had to make sloppy joes right away.  This was my first attempt at homemade sloppy joes, and they were everything I wanted them to be and more.  Bye bye Manwich, there's a mean sloppy joe in town, and you better make room!

Zesty Sloppy Joes

1.5 lbs ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 c - 1 c ketchup
1/4 c tomato paste
1 TB yellow mustard
1 tsp honey dijon or deli-style mustard
1 TB worcestershire sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder and/or chipotle powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1 tsp Tony Chachere's or other creole seasoning blend (or use similar seasons that you blend yourself)
1 small pinch of oregano
1 dash cider vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

1. Sautee onions and green pepper.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sautee ground beef, draining off excess fat.

3. Once excess fat is drained, add in onion, green pepper, garlic cloves, dry seasoning and brown sugar.  Continue cooking for about 2 minutes.

4. Add in vinegar, ketchup, tomato paste, mustards, and worcestershire sauce.

5. Continue cooking until beef is done and sauce thickens.

6. Serve on toasted sesame seed buns.  For an extra indulgent sloppy joe, top with stretchy white cheese like provolone, mozz, or even leftover string cheese strips, YUM!

Sweet Smoky Spicy Chili Pineapple Salmon

Now that I am in my first year as a high school teacher, I have very little time to cook.  For this first 9 weeks, grading has consumed much of my time.  The more I work, the better I become at creating fast, delicious and nutritious meals in a flash.  This weekend, I made a great, quick and easy salmon recipe with ingredients that I already had around the house.  The result was a bold, sweet, smoky, spicy, and uniquely unforgettable meal.  The spice level is just right, not too much or too little, and the sweetness of the pineapple perfectly balances the spicy chili.

I go to the Indian market once in a while to stock up on yogurt since Indian yogurt is my favorite--it's thick and creamy, yet mild in flavor, as opposed to its very sour American counterpart.  Unlike so-called Greek yogurt  or American-style yogurt found at the average supermarket, Indian yogurt is not thickened with gelatin, cornstarch, or other thickening agents.  It is just plain dairy.  On my last trip to Laxmi on old Parham Rd in Richmond, I came across a delicious-looking chili sauce by Deep, a popular Indian supermarket product brand.  The sauce had a nice homemade look, so I decided to try it and find a use for it.  This recipe is one of many uses that I found for it.  It was also great in my mother's chicken and rice dish, which was almost like a soup, but closer to the consistency of chicken and dumplings.

Chili Pineapple Salmon

- 5 salmon fillets
- 1/3 c cubed fresh pineapple (cubed in about 1" or slightly smaller cubes)
- 1/3c or so Deep brand Ole fired roasted mango chili sauce (online or at local Indian market)
- 1/8c water (just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt

dry seasoning rub
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chachere)
black pepper to taste
salt to taste (about 1 tsp or so)

extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat an oven to 425F.

2. Over medium low heat, sautee onion, pineapple, salt, and pepper in olive oil until onions are softened and transparent.  A few minutes before onions are ready, about 7 minutes, add in minced garlic, thyme, and chili sauce.

3. Continue sauteeing for about 3-5 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Meanwhile, lightly drizzle salmon with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with dry seasoning.

4. Place salmon in one layer in an ungreased rectangular pan.  Coat the salmon evenly with pineapple chili sauce.

5. Cook salmon in oven uncovered for 10 minutes.  When ready, salmon will flake easily when pulled apart with a fork.

6. Serve with Haitian rice and beans.

Chili Pineapple Chicken Wings
1. Follow procedure above, except you season chicken well and then sear until golden brown on all sides and then set aside.

2. Make sauce, adjusting quantity according to quantity of wings.

3. Place wings in a single layer in a lined pan (sauce could potentially get sticky).

4. Pour prepared sauce evenly over wings and bake covered at 450F until fork tender.

5. Once fully cooked, removed foil and brown for a few minutes under the broiler until golden and  crispy on edges.

6. Enjoy!