Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Potatoes, meet Sloppy Joes

Good evening everyone! We’re back after our annual week long hiatus (sorry for not making any proclamation regarding this on the blog, but we’ve found it’s not the best idea to announce “Hey, we’re not going to be home for a week” to the whole world).

After our break we’re feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to healthy cooking and blogging. We’ve got a bunch of brand new recipes on the docket, but even better we have a new variety of posts we’ll be rolling out over the coming weeks.

We’re making a greater effort to be more engaged with our community, the greater Des Moines metro, than we have been in the past. That means we’ll be featuring reviews of local eateries (Des Moines is LOADED with great independent restaurants and food lovers) and more posts about products, processes and tip and tricks (alongside our usual recipe regime).

We’re revamping our ‘staff’ as well. (Okay, not really. The staff is still just myself and my wife, Maggie – but we’re changing roles within the blog. I’m going to be doing a majority of the writing, while Maggie has taken full control of our social media presence. We plan to be MUCH more interactive with our readers and community from here on out. Maggie will still be writing her own weekly recipe posts, but reviews, special posts and other unique entries will return to my domain).

Enough with the housekeeping – let’s get to cooking!
Crisp cool winds are now in the air, and many of the local trees are starting to pick up touches of color. We have damp, cool mornings with moderate afternoons and chilly evenings; that can mean only one thing: fall is upon us.

Long time readers will know this already, but fall is our favorite culinary season. Gourds, apples and other fun ingredients hit their prime and the menu can shift to soups, stews or other creative warming creations. Tonight’s recipe is one such creative creation. It blends a classic fall staple – the potato, with another fall sandwich favorite – the sloppy joe. We cut the calories by swapping beef for turkey, but the dish is still full of rich flavor. Want to try it for yourself? Then let’s get cooking!

The Recipe: Sloppy Joe Baked Potatoes
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine, October 2013 Issue

What You’ll Need:
(Serves 4)
4 Russet Potatoes (Scrubbed clean)
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Small Onion (Diced)
1 Carrot (Diced)
1 Stalk Celery (diced)
1 Pound Lean Ground Turkey
½ Cup Ketchup
½ Cup Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tablespoon Chile Powder
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Low fat)

Begin by piercing your potatoes in a few places (3 to 5 “prods” per spud, try to evenly distribute the pokes across the potato) and place them on a microwave safe plate. Heat until the potatoes are tender, making sure to turn them once during cooking. This takes about 3-5 minutes per potato. Heating all 4 will take 15 minutes, cooking two will take about 8 minutes.

While your potatoes are ‘baking’, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large (12 inch) non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery (or ready made mirepoix mix if you can find it – it’s the same thing) and cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. This takes between 5 to 7 minutes.

Next, add the turkey and a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet with the veggies. Using a wooden spoon or silicon spatula, break up the turkey into smaller pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is evenly browned and no longer pink. Stir in the ketchup and chili sauce, along with ½ cup of water and the chili powder and garlic powder. Stir well to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients, then allow the mixture to simmer until everything is cooked through – an additional 5 minutes.

To prepare the dish, split your potatoes in the center with a knife. Fluff the insides of the potato with a fork, and place a tablespoon of butter in the center of each potato. Top with a heaping spoonful of the sloppy joe mixture. Top with the shredded cheese, serve and enjoy!

The Results:

This recipe falls under one of my favorite categories. It looks like a guilty pleasure comfort food. It tastes like a guilty pleasure comfort food. When in reality, it doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure at all. The rich sloppy joe flavor is fantastic, and the substitution of turkey for the beef does little to change the flavor of a traditional sloppy joe. Draped over a perfectly fluffy potato, these flavors all blend beautifully for a savory and filling dish. The best part is that the recipe clocks in at only 450 calories per potato. See? No guilt at all!

That’s all we have for you this evening. Maggie will take to the kitchen on Thursday with a brand new recipe featuring a unique use for one of fall’s best products (think: gourds). We’ll follow that with a special apple based recipe on Saturday.

Next week we’ll have posts on a can’t miss taco joint in Des Moines, a review of some great cuisine at a nearby ballpark and another tasty treat recipe featuring bananas. This is all in addition to our usual recipes for the week! I told you we were ramping things up!

Until tomorrow,


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