Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Start Your Slaving Job to Get Your Pay...

Monday Lunch: Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket and Chips Dinner: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Salad and Garlic Toast
Tuesday Lunch: Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots and Pineapple Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry and Rice

So I am now officially back at work. I’m not sure whether or not to be happy about this. On one hand I love cooking, getting a pay check, and not spending all day feeling like a lumpy couch pillow. On the other hand, I like sleeping in, dislike having to walk 6 blocks in the cold when I can’t find my hat or gloves and I sometimes I want to spend all day being a lumpy couch pillow. Also it means grocery day twice this week and having to figure out what the guys did with all my stuff (the answer: threw it away or hid it; and no, they’re not sure which one it is). The good news is they actually pretty much cleaned the kitchen. They cleaned out the fridge and “organized” the pantry. They also scraped off the seasoning on the griddle. I’m still confused about that one (also I don’t know how to re-season a commercial griddle).

Sadly, the frat house is rather empty. Apparently most of the guys do a co-op program during the winter semester, which means they aren’t at school and therefore are not here to eat my fabulous cooking. My little brother, for example, left for Tennessee Sunday to co-op for some big company. Who’s going to bother me every day and now who am I supposed to eat lunch with? I hate to admit it, but it will be a lonely semester without my dorky little brother. Since the house is so empty, the numbers I have to cook for have gone down and so has my budget. While one might think it would be easier to cook for fewer, they would be wrong. It’s actually cheaper per person to cook for more people (hooray buying in bulk!). Also, it’s been hard for me to scale back mentally. I have to keep reminding myself that there are only 8 people eating lunch today (I may have made 5 pounds of sloppy joes any way…). Apparently my I can cook for 2, 20 or 40 but not 8 or 15.

Being a normal, red-blooded girl, I relish compliments. Sure, I should be humble and say, “Aww… you’re too kind! You shouldn’t say that…” but let’s be honest. We all love compliments; we revel in them. Today I got a lovely compliment from one of the guys. He informed me that he hated sloppy joes, but he loves mine, and that he would only eat mine. Ok, so sloppy joes aren’t exactly a culinary masterpiece, but it’s always nice to hear that someone loves your cooking and that you have even converted them to a dish they previously avowed to hate. So, without further ado, here is my super fantastic sloppy joe recipe:

Kristen’s Sloppy Joes
Serves 8-10 frat boys, probably 16 normal people

5 lbs Lean Ground Beef
2 cups Spaghetti Sauce (I like Ragu traditional because it doesn’t have chunks)
2 packets Sloppy Joe mix*
½ cup- 1 cup Ketchup (depends on how saucy you like your joes)
3 tbs Mustard
3 tbs Horseradish (not the creamy style, the “prepared” style that’s in the refrigerated section)

Brown and drain the ground beef. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Cook over medium until bubbly and heated through, about 2-4 minutes. Serve with pickles on hamburger buns. (Or, you can be like one of the guys and pour the meat over tater tots and top with shredded cheddar cheese for .. Sloppy Tots? Hmm… must think of a better name, that just sounds disgusting)

*Note: If you can’t find sloppy joe mix packets (and they can be hard to find) you can always substitute a mix of garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper and just a little flour. I don’t have any measurements for how much, but I’ve used those spices in lieu of the packets and it turns out just fine.

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