Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes ~ The Way to His Heart

There are two dishes that I never liked growing up. Macaroni and Cheese from a box or Sloppy Joes. Thankfully, we never had these at my house but my friend’s did and I would cringe. Sloppy Joes scared me especially. This odd mixture of meat and sauce that was served on a bun. Was it some sort of burger/meatball mutant? Didn’t it belong on pasta? I remember the first and only time I actually ate Sloppy Joes was at my cousin’s house and I managed to get it down enough and feign interest. That was my last encounter and I’ve never looked back.

So, why would I blog about a dish that I avoided for so long? Easy answer, most people love it and I’m looking for anything that my kid will like for at least one meal. When I was reading through The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook one day a few years back I found her recipe for Sloppy Joes and I laughed as I read the intro to the recipe. Probably a little too loud and I nodded my head in agreement. Ree Drummond was also scared of Sloppy Joes! If she could get over it and create something that she liked then I could give these a try.

It took a while to make these since, like most of my recipes, it got stuck on the back burner. I finally made these recently and they were super. We really enjoyed them. I omitted the Tabasco sauce and went lightly with the chili powder and red pepper flakes so the kids could enjoy. Three of us really enjoy them and the five-year old can muster the strength to at least finish it. I’ll take it as a win!

What is really great about this recipe is that it can still be made rather quickly. You aren’t sacrificing a lot of time. I know the whole deal about Sloppy Joes was the ease of emptying a can, but the hardest and longest part of making this recipe is dicing a pepper, onion, and some garlic. Make a double batch and freeze some and you’ll really come out ahead! All in all this still can be made in less than 30 minutes and it’s homemade!

Sloppy Joes ~ The Way to His Heart

Sloppy Joes


  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Chili powder (more to taste)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes (more to taste)
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional, I omit)
  • Tabasco sauce (optional, to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Kaiser rolls
  • Butter

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and summer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato pasta, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread rolls with butter and brown on a grilled or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls.

Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream ~ The Way to His Heart

Summer is nearing an end whether I like it or not. Last winter was brutal and I just can’t imagine the idea of heading back into that. So, I’m clinging on with everything I have. For as much summer fun as we had this year, I don’t feel like we did “enough.” Not enough time in the pool, barely any time at the beach, and definitely not enough summer treats it seems. I’m not sure how that is since I feel like all we did was eat ice cream and slather sunscreen on ourselves!

Whether it is just the end of summer mind games or the truth, I don’t feel like we had enough S’mores. To enjoy more of that goodness on a regular basis, and not have to depend on my husband to start a fire, I whipped up a batch of this tasty Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream. Originally, Cooking Light used this ice cream as a base for a delicious S’more ice cream sandwich. I thought the ice cream was great as a stand alone. For some added goodness you cold drizzle some chocolate sauce over your ice cream and top it with some crushed graham crackers. No matter what you do, you’ll love this ice cream if you love marshmallows. The taste is spot on. Maybe I’ll even make this in February when I am longing for Summer!

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream ~ The Way to His Heart

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream


  • 7 oz miniature marshmallows (about 4 cups)
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat broiler to high.

Place marshmallows in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment coated with cooking spray. Broil 30 seconds or until golden brown and toasted. Cool.

Combine half-and-half and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Place yolks in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Gradually add hot half-and-half mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return egg mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 6 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and reaches 160°, stirring constantly. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl set over a larger ice water-filled bowl. Let stand until cold, stirring occasionally. Place half-and-half mixture, marshmallows, and vanilla in a blender; process until smooth. Chill mixture 3 hours or overnight.

Pour marshmallow mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Place in a freezer safe container and freeze for 3 hours or until firm.

Source: Cooking Light July 2015

Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad #PaneraGoodness ~ The Way to His Heart

As most of you know, or have realized, my cooking style and blog have made a shift over the years towards making things yourself, cooking more and depending less on prepackaged products. There were several reasons for this evolution. First, it was cost. As a newly wed couple my husband and I found that it was a lot easier to make our own dough and enjoy pizza nights and at a fraction of the cost. Then it shifted towards convenience. I was pregnant with my first child during the winter here in Maine and I had no desire to go to the store so I started making a lot of copycat recipes, even the basics like taco seasoning. A big reason, though, was our health. Especially once I got pregnant and my daughter was born I wanted us to eat better and put better ingredients into our bodies. Worrying about what she was fed was only half the battle, we needed to eat well so we could be good examples and be around with her, and now my son, for a long time.

There are so many different terms out there that can get confusing. Whether you are eating organically, locally, you’re on a paleo diet, you’re eating clean, or just counting calories to be healthier. I realized that while I try and do most of these things, in the end, my goal is to eat and live cleaner. I feel like clean eating encompasses it all. While I am definitely known to indulge in some “dirty” eating and have some creature comfort indulgences, the everyday is about watching what I am buying, cooking more and depending on prepackaged items less or not at all, and focusing on labels.

Clean eating is actually pretty simple. Go to the store and pick up an item, the less ingredients it has, the better. Focus on the first ingredient. Ingredients are listed in order of weight, meaning the product is made mostly from the ingredient that is listed first. Aim for less than 10 ingredients, as a general rule. Balance your plate
and make half your plate fruits and veggies. Shop from farmers’ markets, produce stands, or—even better—grow your own.

The most difficult part of eating healthy is when I need to stop for a quick bite to eat. Whether I have my kids with me or am running a few errands without them, I am always on the run and hungry! I usually just avoid eating lunch out and wait until I get home. That usually creates an angry belly. Now, I’ve learned that Panera Bread has made a commitment to remove artificial additives. They’ve started this process by showcasing their clean salad dressings.

I was really excited to stop in one day, sans kids, and try them out. While Panera’s food is always tasty, I couldn’t wait to try some items that were truly good for me. I purchased the Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad which was absolutely delicious. The serving size is pretty large, but I couldn’t stop shoveling it into my mouth. There was a ton of chicken and strawberries inside, but there was also pineapple, oranges, blueberries, and pecans. The poppyseed dressing was clean( without any artificial flavors preservatives, colors, or sweeteners) and fat-free! Can you say winner winner chicken, er, salad?! While I definitely want to go back and enjoy that salad again, I can’t wait to try some of the others as well. The best part is I can go, knowing that what I am putting into my body and knowing it is good for me. Also, is it just me but eating off of real dishes always makes my meal feel more fulfilling and worth it.

Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad #PaneraGoodness ~ The Way to His Heart

Can’t wait to try out Panera Bread’s new “clean” food offerings? While you’re there, take a picture and use #PanereaGoodness to be part of the Panera movment!

While Cooking Light and Panera Bread supplied me with a giftcard to sample their new clean salad dressings as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own.


Bacon, Apple & Cheddar Broccoli Slaw

Bacon, Apple & Cheddar Broccoli Slaw ~ The Way to His Heart

Is this summer racing by as fast for you as it is me? I feel like I waited through a long, miserable winter and this summer is just steaming by. It doesn’t help that my oldest starts Kindergarten so we are now stuck in that “back to school” phase and my thoughts have been on how we’ll make life work after summer.

I’ve been trying to share some of new and old favorite recipes with you all this summer, but I have a long list that is still waiting to get published (lack of pictures because we’ve been on the go a lot this summer) and I wonder if you are all starting to think of the upcoming fall. So, while I’ll shift gears soon, I just had to share this coleslaw recipe with you because it’s become a favorite this summer.

I figured this was my final shot of getting everyone in my family to like a slaw recipe. I just really pushed the bacon, apple, and cheese. The funny thing is besides the bacon, apple, and cheddar cheese the rest of the ingredients are mostly disliked by the members of my household, but somehow all together it just works. The slaw doesn’t become drenched in liquids and become a soggy mess the next day. It stays nice and crisp and perfect for leftovers. Using broccoli slaw or even rainbow slaw also gives it a nice crunch.

I adapted this recipe a bit to fit my family’s needs, which translates to making this seem as appealing as possible! I omitted the onion because it was just a bit overwhelming and the leftovers were almost pungent. The slaw tastes lovely without them so we ditched them. Next, I julienne the apples and leave the skin on. This brings the eyes to bits of apples and the picky eaters don’t notice the bites of green vegetables they don’t like! Finally, I use any broccoli slaw variation that I can find. Surprisingly, my husband, was even okay with the fact that I used rainbow slaw which contained cauliflower. What?!?!

I’m calling this a huge vegetable side dish victory, even if it does contain bacon and cheese. I take my wins where I can get them!

Bacon, Apple & Cheddar Broccoli Slaw ~ The Way to His Heart

Bacon, Apple & Cheddar Broccoli Slaw


  • 12 oz. broccoli slaw (or any kind of slaw)
  • 2 apples, julienned
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4- 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

In a large bowl, combine slaw, apples, and cheese.  Add honey mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and gently toss.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Before serving, mix in bacon and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

*Want to skip the bacon for health or diet reasons? Simply toss in a handful of sliced nuts in its place.

Slightly adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice