Marsalapsang Joes and Skinny Buns (from Cooking Simplicitea)

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Okay, so I cheated a little bit. My first post here and what do I do? I use one of my wife’s recipes.  But it’s a tasty one! And I made the buns…but only put the Skinny in because Drew told me to. He’s very pushy with tea, you know. Turns out the sweetness of them nicely balanced out the heat of the sloppy joe mix, so it all works out. But these sloppy joes are amazing…try them once and you’ll never eat that canned mix again! Which is good, because the sodium content in that mess is sky high and if you’re not watching your sodium intake, you should be, especially if you’re trying to lose weight as so many of us are (but you’re all beautiful to me!). If you’re not interested in bulking up the ground beef with TVP, it’s also very tasty when made with a full pound of ground beef.

Difficulty: Easy!

Ingredients:
7/8 c. strong Lapsang Souchong Star

1 c. strong Marsala

1/2 pound ground beef

1 cup dry TVP (texturised vegetable protein)

1 green (or red or yellow) pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 can tomato paste

2 t Worchestershire sauce

1/2 t hot sauce

2 T ketchup

1 t Montreal steak spice

1 t cayenne

1 t cumin

1 1/2 t paprika

Directions:

In a bowl, reconstitute TVP. Do this by adding the Lapsang – at or as close to boiling temperature as you can get it – to the TVP. Add 1/2 t paprika and mix thoroughly. The TVP needs to sit for at least five minutes to properly absorb all the moisture, so it’s best to do this first and set it aside while you prepare the next part of the meal.

In a saucepan, brown the ground beef with the diced pepper and onion. Cook on medium. While the meat is still a little pink, add 1/2 t Montreal steak spice, 1/2 t cayenne, 1/2 t cumin, and 1/2 t paprika so the meat can absorb all those flavours.

When the peppers and onions are soft and the meat is almost fully cooked, add the TVP to the pan. There should be no tea remaining in the bottom of the TVP bowl. If there is, let it sit a little bit longer.

Mix in the TVP and let it soak up the flavours from the meat and vegetables. TVP is a great meat substitute that, like tofu, absorbs the flavours of whatever you cook with it. It has the same texture and consistency as ground beef, which makes it a perfect vegetarian option for tacos, shepherd’s pie, etc. Let the TVP cook with the meat and vegetables for about five minutes and drain any remaining fat from the pan.

Sauce time!

Dump, in no particular order, into the saucepan the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and ketchup. Slowly add the Masala tea as you mix to thin the sauce. The tomato paste will not thin out easily and will require some mixing. Once the sauce is at your desired consistency, add all the remaining spices and stir.

While the tomato paste and Worchestershire form the base of the sauce, you can adapt to your personal taste. Some ideas for what to add: salsa, wing sauce, hot sauce, chili flakes, pickled banana peppers, soy sauce, or pretty much any kind of sauce you can find in your fridge.

Bring to a bubble over medium-high heat, then drop the heat to medium-low and cover. Let it simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns or toast.

Yum! Now for the buns. I took the recipe from here and just added half Skinny, half water. If you’re one of those lucky souls (like me) to own a bread machine, well, you can’t afford not to try this recipe!

Difficulty: So Easy It Hurts

Ingredients:

1/2 c Water

1/2 c cooled Skinny

2 T Unsalted Margarine

1 egg

3 1/4 c Bread Flour

1/4 c Sugar

1 T bread machine yeast

Directions:

For first part, I plumb forgot to take pictures, sorry! It’s really easy though. Just add the ingredients in the order laid out by your bread machine. For most, you add the liquids first, then then dry goods, and then you make a little well in the flour for the yeast. Essentially, you don’t want the yeast to touch the liquid until it is mixing. As someone who has been making homemade bread for most of my life, well, it’s quite an adjustment not to proof the yeast, but you absolutely cannot proof bread machine yeast. Trust me, it won’t work out.

Anyway, you want to set your bread machine on the “dough” function and just let it go. Mine took about an hour and a half. When it finished, you want to take it out of the pan and break it up into 12 balls, a little flattened but not squished. The original recipe says 10 balls, but I broke it up into 12 to get the calorie count down and they turned out just fine.

You want to put them on a greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise until they double in size.

I was doing a big batch of cooking this day, so I let them rise while I made a patch of Peppermint Amour syrup (tune in Saturday for the recipe) and when I’d finished, they were nice and big. It took about half an hour.

Bake them in a 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until they look like this:

And there you go! Easy as sin, and much lower in sodium and calories than store-bought.

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