Veggie Joe’s and Ranch Roasted Potatoes (Yes, It’s As Yummy As It Sounds)

Believe it or not, in making the Veggie Joe’s I had my very first lentil encounter. I had never eaten lentils before, and I’d certainly never cooked them before so this was a whole new experience in the kitchen.

Come to find out, making lentils is pretty easy and tasty! Next lentil adventure in soup perhaps? Could be. Let’s just take it one step at a time.

Sloppy Joe’s is one of those fun, easy weeknight meals that can go one of two ways: healthy or unhealthy. The way I always had Sloppy Joe’s growing up was with ground beef (I’m guessing not lean) and a can of Manwich (is that how you spell it?). I’m taking a shot in dark and saying they probably weren’t the healthiest thing I could have been putting in my mouth.

When I thought about making these Veggie Joe’s, I imagined something that would not only be tasty but also healthy for the whole family. I realize that getting getting some people, ahemMENANDCHILDRENahem, to eat vegetables is not an easy task. I don’t exactly take the uber-sneaky approach like Jessica Seinfeld does with her “Deceptively Delicious” cookbooks because that’s too much work. I like to think of myself as more of a veggie-ninja. I don’t grind them up so small that you don’t see them coming, a la Jessica, I just make them small enough to where it’s a pain in the ass to dig them out. On the other hand, I make them tasty too! Pretty good compromise, I’d say.

Veggie Joe’s

  • 1/2 cup ketchup (you could also use tomato sauce)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
  • 2 Tsp Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped (about 1/2 of an 8oz package of whole mushrooms)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp Dale’s low sodium sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 4-5 dashes hot sauce *optional
  • 3/4 – 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tsp olive oil

Heat a medium, deep skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno and saute until tender (about 5-6 minutes). Add the chopped mushrooms and saute until just soft (about 3-4 minutes). Add the cooked lentils, grill seasoning, and ketchup to the cooked veggies and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the Dale’s, hot sauce (if using), and vegetable broth, cover and simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering, the liquid should have fully evaporated into the lentils and made a thick sauce. If not, leave the lid off and keep simmering until the remaining liquid cooks out.

Ranch Roasted Potatoes

  • 4-5 cups chopped potatoes, any variety (I used red potatoes and some leftover gold fingerling potatoes I had on hand)
  • 1 Tsp dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400. Combine the parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix it with your fingers. This mixture makes a little more than you’ll need for the potatoes, but you can save it in a plastic baggy for later. Put the chopped potatoes in a medium-sized bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with roughly 2 Tsp of the Ranch mixture. Use your hands to toss and pour them out in a single layer on a small baking sheet lined with foil. Toss them in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, stir about halfway through to make sure the potatoes are browning on all sides.

NOM!

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