Posts Tagged ‘Food


Loose meat sandwiches with pan fried potatoes

When I was growing up my mother made a recipe similar to this that we called sloppy joes until my sister dated a guy named Joe who was decidedly not sloppy. After that we called them sloppy charlies. Years later, I got a bit tired of telling people what a sloppy charlie was and why we called it that, and we renamed the sandwich loose meat. By then, I had completely transformed my mom’s recipe, which called for canned soup, to one that calls for onions and broth. The sandwiches have become a family favorite, and as I post about them occasionally, they have also become a frequently requested recipe. They pair nicely with our simple pan fried potatoes and a steamed veggie. Enjoy!

Loose Meat Sandwiches

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • seasoning blend of choice (We like Northwoods from Penzey’s in this.)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Saute onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until completely caramelized, around 20 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent over browning. Add beef and cook until browned through; drain fat if needed. Stir in salt, pepper, spice blend, and flour. Let cook for a minute or so. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and let it cook uncovered until it gets very thick, again about 15 or 20 minutes. Serve warm on your favorite sandwich bun.

Pan Fried Potatoes

  • 1 or 2 large potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters, then sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and salt being certain to spread them out as much as possible. Cook, without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir, then cook again for 10 to 15 minutes without stirring. Continue this process until the potatoes reach your desired crispness. You’ll find that you need to stir a bit more frequently the longer they have cooked. Drain on a towel before serving.


Pizza, Family Style

I’ve watched my fair share (and then some…) of cooking shows, and I’ve seen over and over kids top their own pizzas, but we hadn’t tried it at our house until a couple of weeks ago. We watched our normally picky eater devour dinner simply because he’d helped prepare it, and we immediately decided to share the experience with friends. It ended up being a wonderful evening despite the fact that illness kept slightly more than half of the family we were expecting for dinner home. We do hope that they are feeling better soon, we want them to know that they were missed, and we hope that they can all make it over for pizzas again sometime!

This was a fun way to share a family dinner; prepare toppings all ahead and lay them out in separate bowls. I gave everyone a plate and had them top their own pizzas; we offered tomato sauce, mozzarella, olive oil, spices, sliced onion, mushrooms, olives, lightly steamed broccoli, grilled chicken, and pepperoni. Then I slipped all the kids’ pizzas in the oven first, allowing them to cool a bit while the adults’ pizzas baked. We served it all up with a salad and some sliced strawberries. I cleaned up the dishes while the boys all played; then we had flour less chocolate cake for dessert.

Need pizza crust for this event? I used the dough we make from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. We make the basic recipe, but substitute slightly more than half whole wheat flour. I use a golf ball or slightly larger ball of chilled dough for each individual pizza, roll it out to a 7 or 8 inch circle, prick it several times with a fork to prevent puffing in the oven, and pre-bake it at 425 on a preheated baking sheet (with a silpat on it) for about 7 minutes. Then we bake the topped pizzas directly on the oven rack at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown. These are the absolute best home made pizzas we’ve had, and I am finding that we are eating a lot more recipes of artisan dough than we have in the past.

I can also tell you that we’ve done this twice; it is so much hands on fun for all of us that I still don’t have many pictures of it!


Cracker Bread

I know it looks yummy, but please, please, please don’t try this one at home. Only from the mind of a four year old do you get turning crackers into bread! He declared one day that he wanted to make cracker bread. And he decreed that it would be made of 6 cups of crakcers, 10 cups of milk and 26 cups of sunflower seeds. I admit to adjusting his amounts A LOT, but I did not mess with the ingredients at all. We plunked it all in the mixer and let it go for a good long time; then we baked it slowlt in the oven. I have to say that for a first ever recipe, it wasn’t all that bad. We all agreed that it looked better than it tasted, and we had a good long talk about how wonderful it is to try things. We’ll have to try some more four year old creations soon!


Pasta, with help

The boys and I spent much of the day yesterday blissfully in the kitchen. In addition to the chocolate chip granola bars, we happily produced another fresh tomato gratin stew, a trial batch of honey vanilla ice cream (that was lacking *something*), and a recipe of homemade pasta. The boys had a blast helping me with everything from operating the food processor to rolling out the dough. We cut this batch by hand with a pizza cutter, and ate it last night with chicken, green pepper, onion, and zuchinni stir fried. Tonight the left over pasta was put into a chicken soup with fresh beans, sweet corn, swiss chard, and carrots. Both dishes were delish, and I couldn’t help but think of the boys’ faces as they helped me create the pasta.



It was one rough week around here. The preschooler finally decided it was time to ditch the diapers and start using a toilet! We are thrilled, but as with any big transition in his life, he is experiencing some significant turmoil manifested in amazing feats of boyish acting out and devastation. Of course, we’d started the week one the little one sick. Each day brought new challenges, many of which, while significant, I can’t even remember at the moment. The close of the week brought the news that we will not be birthing at home as there is not a suitable midwife available in our area at the time we are due, as well as news that one of my uncles has been moved into hospice care and is not expected to make it longer than a week or two. I started taking photos for this post on Thursday simply because I needed to focus on something positive, the little moments that we share throughout the day that keep us going when the going, well, gets rough. These are just a few of the things that brightened my day:

A little guy trying to fill some very big shoes, even if they are on the wrong feet.

Water, out of glass, on the go. Hubby and I picked these up while we were in Texas; I’ve been hunting for an adult version ever since I saw the glass baby bottles with silicon sleeves at a local store, (now closed) It’s Only Natural. These have me drinking my daily portion and maybe a bit extra; it tastes like WATER, just water.

The flowers that our CSA farmer, Zawadi, gives to which ever boy is with me when we arrive at market each week. They are always passed along to me later, and they make me smile every time I glance at them!

Popcorn, air popped, with butter and salt.

Fresh Tomato Gratin Stew! You haven’t eaten an heirloom tomato until you’ve baked them into this dish; I died and went to tomato heaven yesterday afternoon when I baked this, then promptly consumed *ahem* half of it. The recipe is in Marion Cunningham’s Lost Recipes, and I had every intention of sharing my version, adapted to be SLIGHTLY lower in fat, with you tonight. I do not have it in me to type a recipe right now, and I promise to share it soon. I will be baking another one of these this week with our heirlooms from market; if you arrive at just the right time, I might be willing to share! 😉

Here’s hoping that you had a better week than we did, and here’s to next week being a vast improvement for all of us!