I know it’s not even winter yet, but I’ve already started hibernating. I think it’s supposed to snow. Is that excuse enough?
Part of the whole hibernating thing means using up stuff (a.k.a ingredients/produce/frozen meat) I already have in the house. Dear Husband is thrilled. First of all, I’m buying less groceries (theoretically), and he gets to eat the awesome dishes I’ve been MacGyvering for the past few weeks.
Tonight I roused myself out of my chair, scanned what was in the freezer and fridge and found:
- 3 pounds of ground beef
- Lots of multi colored peppers that were just this side of usable
- Half a large tomato
- A large sweet onion
- Garlic that was just about to sprout but not quite
In my pantry I had tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, masarepa flour and enough spices to season an entire army. You can see where this is going…
Through the hibernating fog, I managed to jot down the ingredients of what I put together. I’m kind of glad because it turned out really really well!
Tonight’s experiment was Sloppy Arepas – an obvious take on the Sloppy Joe. As you probably already know, Dear Daughter-In-Law is from Venezuela and taught me how to make arepas early on. They are insanely easy to make, especially if you can roll raw arepa batter into a ball and then flatten it. I think it’s something just about anyone can manage.
The arepas are made from two ingredients: corn flour and water. Light. Easy to make. The perfect backdrop for the star of the show – the sloppy part
What’s particularly great about this recipe is that you can add more peppers, tomatoes or garlic depending upon what you have in your fridge and it will still be delicious! Don’t you love it when that happens?
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 cups masarepa flour (like Pan)
- 4 cups water
- nonstick spray
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 pounds lean ground beef
- 3 large peppers, assorted colors, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- Combine the masarepa flour and water in a medium bowl. Allow the flour to absorb the water for around 2-3 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Form the batter into 3-inch balls, then flatten with your hands.
- Spray the skillet with nonstick spray and immediately place several arepas in the pan. Brown on both sides. Place on a plate or platter when done.
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and onion and saute until the onion is clear.
- Add the beef and saute until the beef is browned.
- Add the peppers and tomato. Stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the peppers soften.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, black pepper and red chili pepper.
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Cut an arepa in half. Spoon the Sloppy stuff over the arepa. You can eat it as a sandwich, with a spoon, or each half of the arepa topped with Sloppy stuff. It's delicious no matter how you eat it!
- 1. It's important to use masarepa flour. Regular corn flour will not absorb the water properly.
- 2. You can add additional peppers, tomatoes, onion or garlic to this recipe...it will still be great.
- 3. If you don't have avocado oil you can use canola oil. I like avocado oil because it's healthy and has a high smoke temperature.
At this point when I make dinners that are of the meat gender, I’m cooking for just Dear Husband and me. Dear Daughter is a Pescatarian and is happy with Wacky Mac. She did ask me what was up with the fancy dinner tonight. I pretended I didn’t understand.
Stay tuned for the exciting Gluten Free Thanksgiving Extravaganza. I’ll keep you posted.
Back to hibernating.
(Oh...and btw...make sure to "Like", "Share", "Tweet", "Pin" and comment on this post. It makes everyone happier!)