Friday, April 12, 2013

Tidy Joes

Tidy Joes

I love making sloppy Joes.  I have been cooking them for myself and my family for years.  It’s actually one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever invented/ seen.    Unfortunately, they can be awful messy (hence the name).  Recently I got an idea—before the Pillsbury commercial came out actually—to make pocket sandwiches filled with sloppy Joes.  I took out an uncooked crescent roll, and flattened the dough on a plate to make it a bit bigger/ more stretched out than they normally are.  Next I poured the “mix” onto the unfolded crescent rolls.  Then, I closed them up, and cooked the whole thing until it was golden brown and perfect.   Feel free to change the sauce recipe if you don’t like it; this is just how I like them.


½ cup TVP (I use smart ground but anything is fine, even chunks of veggie burger).

¼ cup ketchup

¼ barbeque sauce (I like KC Masterpiece because it’s got a rich, smoky flavor)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Between 2 and 4 unfolded crescent rolls, biscuits, or any type of dinner roll dough


1. Preheat the oven based on the instructions on the container (usually 350).

2. Mix the TVP with ketchup and barbeque sauce in a bowl.  You don’t need to cook it ahead of time.  The sloppy Joes will get plenty warm while baking inside the rolls.  Stir until fully mixed.  Then, add the garlic and chili powder and stir again.


3. Take two (or more) crescents from the container after opening it according to the directions on the package.  Unroll and flatten the crescents—see photo bellow—or if you’re using biscuits you should flatten them.  If you do use crescents, get the big and flakey or big and buttery.  Depending on the size of your roll, you need to carefully place your Joe mix or else the contents will spill out of an overstuffed pocket when you fold the ends over. 

4. Pour a few spoonfuls of sloppy Joe mix into the center. Fold the small corner/tip of the crescent roll up and over so it touches the very the straight line/ bottom end.  This will cover up most of the TVP mixture.  Then, fold both of the corners up—one at a time of course—bringing them to the middle too—see the photo below—or if you’re using biscuits, cover the bottom/ first half with the top/second half to make a semicircle.

5. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the container of the roll.  Keep a close eye on them.  Because you are only making a few rolls, it’s easier to overcook them.   Depending on your oven, you might want to flip the pocket over about halfway through the cooking cycle so it cooks evenly on both sides. 

6. Serve with potatoes (I recommend chips, crisps, or mashed) and/or a fruit or vegetable side dish, so you get a fully balanced meal.  Once again, I do have recommendations, broccoli goes well with this dish, so does a serving of mixed veggies (lima beans, carrots, peas, and corn) but I’d bet that squash, or spinach would be nice additions as well, even though I never tried those combos. 

Leftover Veggie Burger Omelet Sandwich

Leftover Veggie Burger Omelet Sandwich
  1. Two or three eggs
  2. Splash of milk
  3. One (or two) left over veggie burgers, copped. 
  4. ¼ cup shredded or one or two slices of cheddar cheese
  5. Sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, (optional)
  6. 1 bun, Kaiser roll,  or any other bread or roll
  7. Ketchup, mustard, relish and/or pickles, lettuce, tomatoes), etc to top

  1. Place a small amount of smart balance spread (or butter, margarine, etc) in a medium frying pan and allow it to melt.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray  (preferably butter flavored)
  2. Cook the (optional) onions and/or mushrooms in the butter while mixing the other ingredients.
  3. Crack and beat the eggs in a bowl with the milk, and veggie burger chunks.  If you want your tomatoes cooked, mix them in now too.  Then, pour into pan and turn the heat to low.  
  4. Heat evenly, using a fork to push the egg mixture back every so often so that as much of it as possible will get cooked.
  5. Flip over, sprinkle on the shredded cheese.  Fold the omelet over the cheese and finish cooking.
  6. Once finished, place inside the bread/ buns and top as you like.   If you are using cheese slices instead of shredded cheese, place it on top of the omelet or on one side of the toast or cold roll. 

It wasn’t always easy to find a good veggie burger.  Even these, it can be a struggle but there are a dozen brands available now.  Even small town Mom & Pop grocery stores sell them now.    Some people like the veggie burger patties made from grains and vegetables but I find those disgusting.   Who wants to pour ketchup and add pickles to a fucking pilaf with and peas and carrots?  It’s a side dish, not a sandwich!  But everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and if you do like the rice burgers they will work in this recipe too.  Personally, I like to work with Boca burgers—or Quorn—or anything made from soy, because it tastes like a real hamburger.  

As for this specific recipe, I used to make eggs and meatless sausage all the time, but it wasn’t until I started to work on the cookbook that I considered mixing together veggie burger with an omelet.  I  have several “leftover” omelets because I think mixing extra food with eggs is a great way to deal with leftovers without getting bored or having to eat the same thing every day.  However, when I first started experimenting the soy burger omelet, it was completely bland.  Then it hit me: treat the leftovers like a regular burger and pile on the toppings. 

So, I mixed cheese and burger chunks in with the eggs, and put it on a pretzel roll and ate it open face (with half the omelet and toppings on each side.   I really like mushrooms and cheese on my veggie burgers so I put them in my omelets too.  But, as I always say, if you don’t like things the way I suggest you are free to experiment with your own condiments.  You could either go without the onions and/or mushrooms, or you can cook them separately and throw them on the bun with the other toppings.