A few weeks ago, I decided to make Sloppy Joes for dinner. Even from skillet to plate, Sloppy Joes are an easy, quick weeknight meal. But having a perfectly delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes, going that route just made sense to me. Besides....meal prep using the slow cooker has SO many perks! A few minutes of work and then I can forget about dinner until it's time to serve, I can use the 'free' time to pamper myself in whatever manner I chose AND despite being only responsible for tossing a few ingredients together, my family thinks I'm a star for yet again cooking a yummy, hot, home cooked meal! Win, win, win!!
Yesterday, my intent was to blog solely about my Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes but as I was adding the pictures and describing the meal, I found myself craving the flavours of Sloppy Joes but not wanting Sloppy Joes. Weird, right? Well, sometimes, inspiration comes from the weirdest places so instead of Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes last night, I thought, 'what would happen if I made hamburgers, made a Sloppy Joe-ish sauce for the condiment, sauteed a few red onions and topped the works with some melted cheese?'. A Sloppy Kimburger, that's what would happen!
Let me just take a few minutes to go back to the Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes. Sloppy Joes are yet another one of those dishes that those of us from the '60's and '70's became intimately familiar with. They were a regular thing in most households and on restaurant menus of the day. Not bad for a virtually unknown cook named Joe from Sioux City, Iowa, who decided' to twist up the well known 'loose meat sandwich' by adding tomatoes. Since that time, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of variations including Toasted Deviled Hamburgers, Hamberg a la Creole and Spanish Style Minced Beef.
To make my Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes, I browned about a pound and a half of lean ground meat in a large skillet. (I always brown my ground meat before putting it in the slow cooker because, unlike the U.S. where ground meat is usually ground sirloin, in Canada, ground meat is a mix of beef and to be on the safe side, I like to make sure it's cooked thoroughly.) I then tossed in a medium white onion, diced, a cup of sliced white mushrooms, a diced green pepper and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. When the onion was soft and the garlic fragrant, after draining off any excess fat, I transferred the beef and veggies to the slow cooker.
In a bowl, I then combined the ingredients for my sauce: garlic powder, salt and pepper, water, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, brown sugar, ketchup and bbq sauce. After stirring the sauce to combine, I poured it over the meat mixture in the slow cooker, placed the cover on the cooker, set it on low and left it all alone for about 4 and a half hours. (Full recipe details can be found at the bottom of this page).
When it was time to serve, I toasted hamburger buns in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for a few minutes, I then spooned some of the Sloppy Joe mixture on the bottom half of each bun and topped it with shredded provolone cheese. I then returned the topped buns into the oven for about 5 minutes to let the cheese melt down over the sauce. Within minutes, I was ready to serve and it was no big surprise given the aroma that filled my kitchen that all of my family were seated and waiting at the table without me having to call out to them, not even once!
It's not hard to see why:
It was this last picture that put me right over the edge yesterday, yearning for the flavours of those Sloppy Joes again! I just had to have it...well...sort of. Time didn't allow for 4 hours in the slow cooker and my original plan was to make hamburgers, with a little 'stealth health' flavouring, and a side salad for dinner. But hey? Why not give those stealth health burgers a twist? Worked for Joe!
You just might be wondering what stealth health flavouring is. Well, I add an egg, or egg whites if I have them on hand, to lean ground beef and bind it all together with ground flax seed instead of bread crumbs. The ground flax adds a really nice, woodsy flavour to the burgers. Some call flaxseed one of the most powerfu plant foods on the planet. Reserach has shown it helps reduce the risk of heart disease, ulcers, cancer, stroke and diabetes! That's quite a tall order for such a tiny seed. I use ground flax in place of nuts on ice cream, with yogourt, on cereal, just about anywhere I can toss it in. I call it a stealth health flavouring when it comes to hamburgers because I sneak it in unbeknownst to my family, although the cat, or flax, is outta the bag now! Pictured below is a bag of Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal and on the right, is how it looks in my hand. I bought this bag in the organic section of my local grocery store but you can also buy it in bulk at your local bulk store and in organic food stores.
My first step was making my sauce. Using pretty much the same sauce recipe as for my Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes with a few tweaks, I first sauteed 1/2 a white onion, minced and about 1/2 c. sliced white mushrooms. I didn't have any green pepper so I omitted those. When the onion was soft and the mushrooms browned, I seasoned them with about 1/2 tsp garlic powder, a little freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. I don't cook with a lot of salt simply because I think the flavours from the other ingredients are ample enough to reduce the sodium in the food I give my family (and myself). In a 2 cup measuring cup, I combined some ketchup with bbq sauce, Worcestershire, yellow mustard and some brown sugar. (You can find the complete recipe at the bottom of this page).
I let the sauce come to a low boil and then I reduced the heat to low and let the sauce simmer and thicken while I made my stealth health hamburgers.
In a large bowl, I combined a pound of lean ground beef, about 1/2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, a tsp of steak spice, a heaping tsp of Espresso Steak Rub*, (which obviously is optional - I had some on hand, so I tossed some in), one beaten egg and about 1/3 c. whole ground flaxseed meal. You could use a fork or spoon to combine everything toether, but I prefer the clean hands method...you know...get my hands right in there, squish the meat with my fingers...takes me back to my childhood days of making mud cakes! Awwww...the good ole day!
(*When visiting Madeira Beach, Fl, I went to The Spice and Tea Exchange in John's Pass Village and Boardwalk. What a tremendous treat that was! So many spice blends, so many exotic sugars and teas...it was heaven! The Spice and Tea Exchange first opened it's doors in 2005 in St. Augustine, FL and has since grown to 37+ stores, in 21 states and The District of Columbia. You can order spice, sugar and tea blends right from their site. Just click here for more information!).
I gave a large non-stick skillet a good spritz with some olive oil spray and heated it on medium high heat.When the pan was nice and hot, I placed the hamburger patties in the skillet and gave them a good sear for about 3 minutes before flipping them over and doing the same thing to the other side. I then reduced the heat to medium, flipped them again and let them cook for about 2-3. At that point, I decided some sauteed red onion might be a nice addition so I added some sliced red onion to the skillet too.
I gave the burgers another flip and lowered the heat while I tossed up a salad of radicchio, baby spinach, romaine, microgreens, some diced red onion, cucumber and tomatoes. I then sliced my hamburger buns and placed them in the oven to toast for a few minutes. My reasoning in doing so is that the sloppy sauce is pretty darn wet and there was no getting around the fact that these burgers were gonna be messy, (actually...I was pretty excited about it...not often enough do we have permission to get messy with our food), but that didn't mean they had to be soggy!
When the buns were toasted, I spooned some sauce on the bottom half, layered on red onions, (I think I'll keep the red onions raw the next time just for the crunch though), one burger patty, more sauce and a blend of shredded Gruyere and cheddar on top. Back into the oven for a few mintures.
Dear me..there goes that craving thing again! Would it be wrong to have the same thing two nights in a row? Probably, huh? Oh well...on to plating. I simply closed the bun over the meat, placed it on the plate next to a nice portion of freshly tossed green salad and voila! Sloppy Kimburgers were ready to serve!
I have to say, all self-praise and boasting aside, these Sloppy Kimburgers, and I guess the name I've given them shows my arrogance sufficiently enough, were absolutely PHENOMENAL! My mom claimed it was the best burger she had ever had, which is pretty big praise seeings how mom is pretty much a burger afficionado! She even went on further to say, 'I'm not kidding. If you had a restaurant, you wouldn't be able to make these burgers fast enough!". Stephen devoured his burger and Mackenzie asked if I could make them again, soon, and let her know so she could invite her friend over. I think I can safely say, they were a huge hit. (Hopefully, they'll still love them when they read that I snuck in the ground flaxseed).
Gettin' messy with dinner two ways: Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes and Sloppy Kimburgers...easy, healthied-up, inexpensive AND delicious!
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
2 lbs. lean ground meat
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
2 c. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. water
3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 c. ketchup
3/4 c. bbq sauce
4-6 Kaiser rolls
1 c. grated cheese, American, cheddar, or provolone
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Add ground beef and brown. Add in diced onion and green pepper as well as sliced mushrooms - stir to combine. When onions soft and mushrooms golden, add in minced garlic and let simmer about 30 seconds. Transfer to slow cooker.
In a medium sized bowl, combine garlic powder, salt, pepper, water Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, ketchup and bbq sauce - whisk well to combine. Pour sauce over meat in slow cooker, stir to combine, cover and cook on low setting for 4-5 hours.
When ready to serve, slice Kaiser rolls open, but still attached, and place on wire rack on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for approximately 5 minutes, until just lightly toasted. Spoon Sloppy Joe Sauce onto one side of kaiser roll, top with grated cheese and return to oven for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven, close roll, serve and enjoy! (For printable version, click HERE).
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp steak seasoning
1 tsp. Espresso Steak Rub (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. whole ground flaxseed meal
4 hamburger buns
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 c. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. bbq sauce
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
To make sauce: In a medium sized non-stick skillet, heat a tsp of oil over medium high heat. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until onions soft and mushrooms, golden. Add garlic powder. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard ,Worcestershire and brown sugar - stir to combine and pour into skillet with onions and mushrooms. Let sauce come to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve.
Combine lean ground beef, steak seasoning, Espresso Steak Rub, Worcestershire sauce, one beaten egg and ground flax seed. Using hands, make sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Divide meat into four equal portions and form into patties.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add hamburger patties and sear for 3-4 minutes, flip and sear for another 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, flip patties again. Add sliced red onion to skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes. Flip patties one more time and continue cooking onions.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place opened hamburger buns on a rack on a baking sheet. Toasted in preheated oven for about 5 minutes. (You'll want the buns to be slightly crisp so the sauce doesn't make burgers soggy).
When buns are toasted, spoon some sloppy sauce onto bottom bun and top with sauteed red onions. Add cooked burger patty, and top patty with grated cheese. Spoon a little more sauce onto top bun and add a little more cheese. Return baking sheet to oven and heat through until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes. Close hamburger buns and serve! (For printable version, click HERE).
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