“My Mom thinks Honey Boo Boo is a train wreck,” Nick said in a phone call to one of his friends.
He was outside, and I was in the kitchen making dinner.
He’s right, of course. It is a train wreck. But one that we haven’t looked away from. And honestly, for all their quirks and, um, interesting character traits, you can’t deny their love for each other.
Nick loves Sloppy Joes to the nth degree. (The ground beef kind, not the sandwich kind that’s more well-known in New Jersey)
Growing up, Sloppy Joes sometimes hit our table for dinner. Stick-to-your-ribs goodness. One of the Sloppy Joe recipes that my mom made came from a family friend. Ketchup. Mustard. Brown sugar. And I don’t remember what else.
Years later, I got the recipe from my mom and started making it for my own family. Then, during one of our various moves, I lost the recipe card and just started improvising. Same basic ingredients, going just by taste for the finished product.
The Ex loved them. Served on a toasted bread bun, smothered with Sloppy Joe goodness. Melted cheese on mine. Not his. Weird man doesn’t like cheese as much as I do. Says someone who has a Pinterest board just dedicated to cheesy goodness. Oh yes.
And Nick is following in his Dad’s footsteps.
At least in that respect: Sloppy Joes? Love.
I recently noticed a different version of Sloppy Joes from the folks at Cooking Light that included mushrooms.
Like a whole lot of them.
But being these mushrooms are food-processed to oblivion, I figured it was safe.
While listening to Nick and his friend discuss the merits of reality television (also touching on 19 Kids and Counting, Breaking Amish (which I don’t let them watch), Restaurant: Impossible, and Cupcake Wars), I chopped and mixed and stirred.
Everyone inhaled their dinner. Like seriously Hoover vacuums might have been involved.
After the plates were cleared, Nick was browsing Instagram and stumbled upon my picture of dinner.
“So. There were MUSHROOMS in that?” he said, looking at me with a smirk.
Oops. Busted via Instagram. Totally 2012.
“Um, yes. And you liked it, right? Didn’t even notice I bet.”
“Yes, they were good.”
Score one for Mom and Cooking Light. And maybe Instagram too. Darn that Instagram for outing me.
Sometimes I forget that he follows me. I try to remember not to post NC-17 pictures, especially since he’s not the only kid that follows me. There was, ahem, one picture that I posted awhile back without thinking. Luckily a friend raised the red flag a few hours later and I hastily deleted it. Sometimes technology and social media are all sorts of awesome. Sometimes it reminds us that we sometimes still need to behave like we’re in first Friday mass with our little classmates, legs crossed at the ankles, hands clasped in prayer, hushed tones spoken. Because, you know, impressionable little eyes are watching. And they’re everywhere. Sheesh.
So in summary? Whether or not you love Sloppy Joes. Or mushrooms. You should probably make this. Like almost certainly. Because it makes for an awesome weeknight meal. When your schedule is jam-packed. And it gives you a chance to stuff your family full of mushrooms. With a Cooking Light guilt-free recipe.
But if you’re Instagramming your life and hiding mushrooms, you might want to leave that part out when you upload the picture.
Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine, June 2011
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces ground sirloin
- 2 (8-ounce) packages presliced cremini mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)
- 1 cup prechopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon molasses (I used maple syrup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 4 (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, toasted
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add beef; cook for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.
- While beef cooks, place mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to pan; cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates. Stir in pepper and hot sauce. Spoon about 1 cup beef mixture on bottom half of each bun; top with top halves of buns.