Weeknight Dinner: Sloppy Joe Chili Cheese Fries, and that time I did The Marilyn

So, I've learned many lessons this week (aka, wash your hands after cutting jalapenos, don't try to sneak onto the Captain America set, the Captain America security guards WILL accept homemade cookies but they will still not let you onto the set). One of the more important lessons I learned was today, whilst walking home from a work event. I was wearing this super cute new dress I got at Urban Outfitters on sale for $29. Yes, that's important because it was on sale, and therefore a justified purchase. It is a dress-shirt style dress with buttons all the way down. These details will be important in a moment, so stay with me here, people.

Now, before I tell you what happened I want to preface this by saying you'll likely laugh at me. And then you'll feel bad for me. BUT what you WON'T admit is that this has happened to you too. So just know that I KNOW. I know I'm not alone.

So, I'm walking home. In the Cleveland sunshine. And the wind. When suddenly I realized I was doing my best movie star in wind impression – what I call The Marilyn. Not catching on? The skirt of my dress went completely up in the wind, and my underwear which read No Sleep all across the touchey in big black lettering was exposed. (It's almost laundry day, OK?). Right in front of a Captain America security guard who felt the need to say, "Yeah, I don't get no sleep neither." Bad grammar aside, I was mortified. MORTIFIED. So, I tightened up, and tugged on my cross body purse, which then latched onto the button across the … breasty part … of my dress, which then POPPED open, and the other half of me was exposed. I asked the security guard if there was anything else he wanted to see and he replied, "Nope. Pretty much seen it all." 

So… that happened. Awesome.

Well, by the time I did get home, I was ready for some dinner. We had some sloppy joes planned for the evening, but I decided to jazz it up a bit and came up with a MUCH more fun recipe for a night in with your Mr. Grumpy. Now, there is a secret to making super delish Sloppy Joe (whether you put them on a bun or a fry pile). I already shared this secret with a reader of Home with You, but I'm spreading the love today. Suzie Q always adds a can of tomato soup to her Sloppy Joes. WHY ON EARTH WOULD SHE DO THAT?… Ok, I know that Manwich is God's greatest gift to all things ground beef on buns. But, trust her on this. It makes your Joe mixture so delicious, a little bit thicker (which I promise is good) and it's really flavorful. I sometimes do not have tomato soup on hand (like ever…), so I substitute tomato paste and it's really good. I promise.

On that note, let me introduce you to Sloppy Joe Chili Cheese Fries (don't worry, they're not as unhealthy as they sound)… 

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What You'll Need:

  • 3/4 to 1 lb of lean ground beef (we used the 92-7 kind, but you can also substitute ground turkey or chicken. I would just double the spices…)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (or you can substitute 1 can of tomato soup)
  • 1 can of Manwich 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of chopped sweet red peppers
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package of low fat frozen french fries
  • 1/4 cup of fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped

First, preheat your oven as the frozen french fry package directs. Here's a hint: we turn up the heat a bit to make them crispier, but it's really what you prefer. Cook fries as package directs.

In the meantime, in a small pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef, garlic powder, pepper, chili powder and salt. Cook your meat all the way through, making little tiny meat pieces. Once it's fully cooked, add the onions, green pepper and sweet red peppers. Let those cook over medium heat until they soften (about 6 minutes). Add the can of tomato paste and Manwich. Stir, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. This lets your flavors mix together and be really yummy. 

By now, your fries should be all done! CELEBRATE – IT'S TIME TO EAT! First, take a small deep dish and place a layer of fries (about 1/2 cup). Then put about 1/4 cup of Sloppy Joe mixture on top of the fries. Add a sprinkle of cheese and chopped green onions, and voila! Sloppy Joe Chili Cheese Fries (Skyline, eat your heart out). 

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Disclaimer: I used a bag of fries provided to me by a client of mine to try a new product of theirs… They did not ask me to post about it… They just happened to be the ones in my freezer for the day.


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Mr. Grumpy was super excited about this one. In fact, after I made up his plate and started making up mine, I noticed that he was already piling on a SECOND layer of fries, Joe sauce and cheese so he wouldn't have to take the time to go back for seconds. I take this as confirmation that there are things that make Mr. Grumpy slightly … HAPPY… Did I just go there? Yeah… yeah I did. Note that the second picture above is just him pretending to be grumpy. I think he was actually quite pleased.

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