Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lentilized Sloppy Joes

What you see here, my friends, is the marriage of children who are adverse to change and a mother who is wiped out.  This week has been particularly busy (and next week isn't looking any better) and I have been making fast, easy dinners.  One daughter has been begging, literally, to have sloppy joes for several days.  I fully intend to find a good sloppy joe recipe that doesn't use canned sauce but I thought that I would have the best success in sneaking in the lentils if the rest of it tasted the same.  I didn't even eliminate the meat entirely.  I'm a wimp, I know.
This recipe is so easy.  First, measure out a cup of dried lentils.  Rinse them thoroughly and put them in a pot with four cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer and cook until the lentils are tender.  This picture is about half-way through the cooking.  It is so odd how the lentils were greenish dry, look red in the pot, and then were greenish again when they were drained.  I know that there is a lot of strange stuff in my water (see the white on the side of the pot) but I do know how it makes green beans look red.

I did not cook them long enough and the kids complained that they were crunchy.   I always find that lentils take longer than the package claims.

In a large skillet, brown one pound of ground beef.  You do not need to add ground beef unless you are trying to be sneaky like I was.  I do not believe that the beef adds any flavor benefit to this dish.  You could absolutely use turkey or chicken.

Once your meat is browned, pour in one can of the sauce (or your own sloppy joe sauce recipe.)  Mix thoroughly.

Add the drained lentils and mix again.  I found that one can of sauce didn't do a very good job of hiding the lentils so I added a second can.  I think it was the right amount of sauce to solids.  (That is steam.  And a dirty stove.)

Heat through.  I think that the lentils absorb more flavor as you cook them in the sauce.

Serve however you would serve sloppy joes.  Our family likes hamburger buns.

The Verdict

My kids immediately noticed that there was more than just ground beef in these sloppy joes.  As I said, the lentils were a bit more firm than I thought and it added more texture to the dish.  They all agreed that they could taste the lentils.

I find their opinions to be ridiculous.  I noticed the firmness of the lentils but I thought the flavor was exactly the same.

They all ate them, and several people had seconds, so they must not have been too bad.

The dreamy husband is still out of town, so no opinion from him.

Again, this recipe is so lazy simple that I am not even going to type it out again.  You are smart people:  lentils and sloppy joe sauce.  Meat if desired.  Yum.

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