Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tidy Joes

"When you're on the go, eat a tidy joe"
my sweet husband's slogan for this favorite meal
When I posted this teaser pic in May, I never thought it would take me until the end of June to post the recipe!  Life with small children has a way of altering our time-lines & adjusting our priorities.  :)  And that is how it should be.   So while I feel like I should apologize for not posting at all this month, instead I will just say that my girls & I have had fun together, both in the kitchen and out.  I did take pictures of some of our meals, and I will post them as I have a chance.  Now back to our recipe.  :)
One day a few years ago, as I was starting to make fresh rolls for our sloppy joes, I had a thought.  What if, instead of trying to carefully cut the roll only part way & fill it with the meat mixture so that our three year old didn't get frustrated trying to eat neatly... What if I filled the rolls before I baked them?  Would that work?  I decided there was no loss in trying, since I had to bake the rolls in two batches anyways.  If nothing else, if it failed, I would bake the second pan as normal rolls & we just wouldn't have extras to eat later in the week.  To my excitement, it did work, and became a family favorite - no longer sloppy, these are tidy joes.  We love serving tidy joes when we have friends over for a game night, and each new person to try them has liked them.

This recipe will be posted in two parts - this post will be about making the filling & stuffing the rolls.  Soon (mommy soon, not toddler soon) I will post my quick 100% whole wheat roll recipe.  If you can't wait until then, simply use your favorite bread dough or purchased frozen dough.

Ingredients for the filling:  ground beef, green pepper, medium onion, cut up or diced canned tomatoes, quick-cooking rolled oats, chili powder, worcestershire sauce, garlic, and salt.

In a large skillet (I love my cast iron, even though this is a tomato recipe) cook the ground beef, diced onions, and diced green peppers.  I get pastured organic beef from a local farmer, which has very little fat content.  I don't need to drain any grease after, but you might, depending on the beef you purchase.
Stir in the undrained tomatoes, oats, chili powder, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and salt.  Bring it to boiling, and then reduce the heat until it is just simmering.  Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.  This will take 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your tomatoes. I only quartered my tomatoes when I canned them last year, so I have to break them up a little in the pan and cook slightly longer than if they were diced.
Once your filling has thickened, let it cool slightly and prepare your dough.  I use my quick 100% whole wheat dough (link will be added when recipe is posted) and have found that one batch of dough is almost the perfect amount for a single batch (one pound beef) of filling.  You will need enough dough for two loaves of bread, so either use your favorite 2 loaf recipe or commercially available frozen dough, at room temp.

I usually use 2 ounces of dough and 1/4c filling for each tidy joe.  This will yield 24 standard hamburger rolls.  If you want to make a big impact, use 3 ounces of dough and 1/3c filling.  Flatten the dough into a disc, top with a small square of cheese, and then the filling.  Gently stretch the sides up and around the filling, being careful to keep the bottom and sides thick enough to contain the meat & cheese.  The edges of the dough should be very thin, so that the top (will be bottom) of the roll is not overly thick.  Overlap the edges and then pinch them to seal.  This is easiest with tender slightly sticky dough.  Once the roll is sealed, flip it over and dust the bottom with course corn meal.  Gently reshape it into a circle if needed.  

Place the shaped rolls on a baking sheet / baking stone to rise, leaving an inch in between for room to expand.  Rising time will depend on your dough recipe.  Bake according to the dough recipe - I bake mine at 425*F for 12-14 minutes, just until the tops are starting to brown.  Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

I'll edit later to add the recipe.  :)  Now I'll just finally hit publish.

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