15 January 2013

Weeknight Slender Joes

I don't know about you, but I have a terrible habit of squandering my free time.  Take an evening such as this, for example.  After working all day, bathing the pups, cooking dinner and designing a belated 2013 photo calendar, I am blogging rather than watching Alias on Netlix (*sigh*....c'est de ma faute).  It seems I never have time for free time.  So in honor of this recipe, I am limiting my blogging time to 15 minutes....starting now.  Meaning that within the next 14 and a half minutes, I'm going to present to you a recipe that will take you 15 minutes to make.  With me still?  And as an added bonus, it's so healthy that you can help yourself to seconds.  Boo-yah.

Everyone loves the comfort favorites.  Spaghetti, beef stew, roast beef and popovers (yes, my husband is Canadian) make for a happy dinner on any January evening.  Another classic favorite is Sloppy Joes.  Nothing says satisfied quite like being wrist-deep in a hot, beefy sandwich.  Now the ingredients to the classic Joes are easy - beef, peppers, onions and tomato sauce.  Typically recipes call for a tomato sauce made from scratch.  But I always have marinara sauce on hand.  Talk about a quick and easy substitute to the homemade version.  

Homemade marinara is fabulous, and I always make my own if I have time.  But after particularly garrulous days in the office, I prefer cutting out as many steps as possible.  So I find pre-made marinara a perfect substitute to hold together all the lean ground beef, bell peppers and onions that make up the meat (literally) of this dish.  A few dashes of hot sauce, a shake of dried basil and dollop of minced garlic is all it takes to make this dish drool-able.  And at only 215 calories and 9.6 grams of fat, you can afford the slice of buttery Havarti on top.  

This is a favorite pre-test meal of the hubs.  It gives the comfort of a hot, beefy sandwich that fills you up, but with the added bonus of sitting lightly.  After all, a happy digestive tract is a healthy digestive tract.  But my 15 minutes is coming to an end, so let's move on to the good stuff.....

Weeknight Slender Joes (3 servings)
  • 8 oz 90% lean ground beef
  • dash each salt & pepper
  • 1/2 c diced bell pepper (whatever color you have/prefer)
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1+ c marinara sauce (I love Classico Tomato & Basil)
  • 1 tsp Franks Redhot sauce
  • 3 slices Havarti cheese (or other good melting cheese)
  • 3 thin buns (I like thin buns and I cannot lie...but do big if you like!)
Place a large pan over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, spray with non-stick.  Add the beef along with a dash of salt and pepper.  Cook for until meat is browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you cook, for about 5 minutes. 

Add the bell pepper and onion and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.  Sprinkle the dried basil and chili flakes over the beef mixture and stir together, then pour in the marinara sauce and Franks.  Stir to combine, then add more marinara if desired.  Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Warm the buns in the microwave or toast lightly, depending on your preference with a messy sloppy sandwich.  Scoop a generous half cup onto the bottom bun a top with a slice of Havarti.  Serve immediately with a side of love and laziness   Relax immediately after diner.  

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