Sloppy joes are a perfect comfort food: they’re hearty and can be eaten with your hands. What more could you want? These sloppy joes are made with lentils, making them perfect for vegetarians and vegans. They’re high in protein, low in fat, and are extremely filling. If you aren’t ready for a totally meatless experience, reduce the amount of lentils by half and add a quarter pound of ground beef.
Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1/2 c. uncooked lentils
- 2 c. water
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste*
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
- Put lentils in a small pot and add water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until onions are soft. Add cooked lentils, chili powder, oregano, salt, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Mix well, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add brown sugar and mustard and stir well to combine. Remove from heat and allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes so flavors can blend. Serve on hamburger buns or your favorite roll.
*Tomato paste can be found in resealable tubes at most grocery stores. (If it’s in Oklahoma, surely it’s everywhere.) You can also find it online at Amazon: Amore Tomato Paste.
With temperatures nearing 100 degrees, I’ve been reluctant to turn on my stove or oven for fear of making the house hotter than it already is. The solution? Grilling.
These pork chops are brined for 4-6 hours in a solution of water, salt, brown sugar, rosemary, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Brining meat makes it juicier and more flavorful. (This article from Fine Cooking details the hows and whys of brining.) The vegetables are marinated in an olive oil and herb mixture for about an hour before they’re grilled, which makes them extra delicious.
Grilled Rosemary Pork and Vegetables
For the pork:
- 4 boneless pork chops, ~4 oz. each, 1/2″ thick
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. dried rosemary, or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 c. hot water
- 2 c. cold water
For the vegetables:
- 1 zucchini, halved crosswise, then halved lengthwise
- 2 yellow squashes, halved crosswise, then halved lengthwise
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp. salt
- 1/2 tbsp. pepper
- 1 tbsp. dried herbs (use whatever you have on hand- marjoram, basil, savory, thyme, etc.)
- For pork: In a medium bowl, combine salt and brown sugar. Pour 1 c. hot water over the salt and sugar, and whisk until both are dissolved. Add 2 c. cold water, followed by rosemary, olive oil, and vinegar. Whisk vigorously to combine. Place pork chops in resealable plastic bag; pour brine into bag, press out excess air, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
- For vegetables: Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbs in a large bowl or dish; stir well. Place zucchini and yellow squash in bowl or dish and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- When ready to grill, remove pork chops from brine and pat well with paper towels to dry. Discard brine. Let chops come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling. Brush chops on both sides with olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill pork chops and vegetables over direct medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side (8-10 minutes total). Remove, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Spring is a time to shake off winter’s grasp and enjoy warmer weather by grilling and dining al fresco. Sometimes, though, a spring shower can ruin those plans and make a whole day feel dreary and dull. On rainy spring days, I like to turn on my oven and put in an easy, minimally-intensive meal. The aroma of roasting chicken and vegetables will perk up any grey day!
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
- 2 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts
- 3 medium sized zucchini, sliced to 1/2″ thickness
- 8 oz. mushrooms, halved
- 1 red onion, sliced into 8 wedges
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tbsp. dried rosemary, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large (9″x13″) baking dish or roasting pan, combine zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and olive oil. Toss well to combine and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, combine 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and all of the rosemary in a small bowl. Using your fingers, gently loose the skin from the chicken meat on each breast. Spread the rosemary mixture evenly on each chicken breast under the skin. Replace the skin, and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt.
- After 15 minutes, place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables. Continue cooking for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving