Tag Archives: homemade

cooking

Homemade Sloppy Joes

We have been getting pounded with snow and cold here in Chicago, so this saucy sandwich was just what we needed to warm our bellies.  It’s pretty easy to make too (not quite as easy as opening a can, but much better for you!).

INGREDIENTS

– 1 lb. Ground Beef (I think ours was 80 / 20)

–  Jar of Pasta Sauce (Choose something simple like garlic or basil & tomato.  I used a jar of arrabiata, which is basically tomatoes, chili peppers & garlic)

–  1 Diced Bell Pepper (color of your choice)

–  2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

–  1/2 an Onion, diced

–  BBQ Sauce (to taste … about 1/4 cup)

–  Brown Sugar

–  Chili Powder

–  1 to 2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

– Salt & Pepper

–  Buns

Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat with a little salt and pepper and chili powder (use as much or as little of this as you like.  We use much.).  When there’s just a bit of pink left, add in the peppers, onions, and garlic.

Continue to cook until the onions take on that translucent color, the peppers soften up, and the beef finishes browning.  Next you will remove the mixture from the heat and dump it into a strainer to drain the fat.  DO NOT skip this part.  You will be amazed how much fattiness oozes out.  Gross – you don’t want to eat that.  Return the mixture to the skillet and add in your tomato sauce.  Give it a stir while simmering over low-medium heat.

Stir in the BBQ sauce and brown sugar a little at a time (tasting as you go) until you reach your desired flavor.  Add in a bit more salt, pepper, and chili powder if you need too as well.  Then add the apple cider vinegar – start with 1 tsp, taste and then decide if you want another.  The vinegar just gives the dish a little kick of acid and amps up the flavor.  Let everything simmer for about 5 more minutes and then slap it on some buns and chow down!  (Because that’s the way you do it with a Sloppy Joe).

Enjoy!  XO

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I Tried To Bake It: Cut-Out X-Mas Cookies

I always helped my gramma or mom frost cut-out sugar cookies every Christmas.  We would spread the creamy frosting onto wreaths, santas, angels, trees, and candy canes before stacking them into tins and eventually eating them.  These are the cookies my brother and I would leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.  This year I decided I would carry on the tradition and whip up a batch for Ava to enjoy.  I found a simple recipe to follow and started mixing up some dough …

IMG_8638My bowl wasn’t really deep enough and using the mixer turned into a giant mess so I had to reach in and finish it off with my hands.  So much for keeping things neat and simple.

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It tasted pretty good so I must have done something right.  I put the dough in the fridge to chill, cleaned up the counters, and had a glass of wine.  Ahhhhhhhh.

Two hours later it was time to get the cookies rolled and cut and into the oven.  I enlisted Mike’s help for this.  We realized we do not own a rolling pin so we had to use cans of diced tomatoes to roll out the dough.  We got the first batch in and out of the oven, but then we were either working too fast or impatiently because our gingerbread men starting losing heads.  Let’s just say the majority of our cookies looked more like blobs than snowflakes, candy canes, and gingermen.

Finally it was time to frost!  I must have used too much milk because it was pretty thin, but I was out of powdered sugar so we had to work with it.

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“OOOOO.  Cookies are hard.”

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A few of them came out looking okay I guess …

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But in the end we just gave up, piled all the cookie pieces onto a plate and drizzled icing over them.

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I know for a fact that Santa won’t mind.  Will I be making these again anytime soon?  No.  Will they all get eaten?  Yes.  Maybe things will turn out better next year.  Happy Holidays! XO

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