Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Loose Meat (Maid-Rite) Sandwiches

So, this is DEFINITELY not Cajun cooking.  Loose meat sandwiches, as made famous by the Maid-Rite chain and Roseanne,  are definitely a Midwest thing.  Pretty simple stuff:  seasoned ground beef, mustard, pickles, bun. Boom.  Tasty stuff.  Not a Sloppy Joe, since those have a tomato base sauce.
Earlier in the year we were considering making a loose meat sandwich as a monthly special at The Scoop.  We tested out a few different recipes but could never quite find one that wouldn’t reduce down too much over the course of the day & change the flavor or dry out.  However, we did REALLY like this recipe fresh from the pot.  The steak sauce and the brown sugar make a nice sauce that helps to bind the meat a little bit so it’s not super-loose, and there’s a good balance of spicy, sweet & acid.
INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 servings)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced (or 1 Tbsp dried onions)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp steak sauce
  • 1 Tbsp spicy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • For Serving:  hamburger buns, mustard, dill pickles
Combine the meat and onion in the bottom of a large pot; cook over medium heat until browned.  Add the remaining ingredients & heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid has evaporated.  Typically takes about 30 minutes.
Warm the buns in the oven (or a toaster oven), then spoon on the meat, and add  the mustard & pickles.

NutriFacts (per sandwich):
Calories 463.9
  Total Fat 26.1 g
  Saturated Fat 9.9 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 10.3 g
  Cholesterol 85.1 mg
  Sodium 1,040 mg
  Potassium 424.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 29.8 g
  Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
  Sugars 7.6 g
  Protein 25.1 g

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Yes, yes, I’m alive.  I know, you were worried.  It’s been a hectic summer around these parts.  The Scoop is crazy-busy:
IMG_4883 IMG_4913 IMG_5201
… and we’ve been getting to hang out outside a bit…
Oh, and I discovered geocaching
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I may be a little obsessed (username “feauxcajun”).

But, I HAVE also been cooking. I just haven’t taken the time to blog about it.  As the Scoop season winds down, I have a little more free time again.  So, I’d like to share a recipe I swiped from my cousin Manda Starr.  Well…technically from her hubs, who made it for us for Turkey Day breakfast last year.
SUPER yummy stuff. 
The nice thing about this is that you can compose 90% of this dish the night before, and then just add the tater tots in the morning before you bake it. 
1 lb ground beef or pork sausage
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup chives
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tsp turmeric (we’re on a turmeric kick lately…it’s great for you and very mild so you can add it to anything…but it IS responsible for the super-yellow color of the dish.)
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar, but as you can tell from the pics, we had mozzarella on-hand.)
4 eggs
2 lbs frozen tater tots

Cook the meat & onions in a large skillet, then drain off the excess fat.  Transfer into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Then add the cheese & bacon.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, chives, turmeric, salt & pepper, then pour over the meat & cheese.  (If you prep it the night before, here’s where you refrigerate it.)
When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350F, and add the tater tots.  If you’re a free spirit, you can just toss them on top and spread ‘em around so you have good coverage.  But…if you’re a little more “A type” personality…
(I know it seems a little anal, but it actually makes portioning really easy later on.)
Press the tots down into the mixture a little bit to get a good “crust”. Then bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the eggs are completely done.
Makes about 8 servings.
Calories 371
  Total Fat 17.4 g
  Saturated Fat 4.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.2 g
  Cholesterol 187.0 mg
  Sodium 642.5 mg
  Potassium 433.6 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 24.2 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
  Sugars 3.5 g
  Protein 26.6 g