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Its a block buster Grand Final Weekend coming up in Australia with the AFL Grand Final being played for the first time ever outside the MCG and under lights on Saturday night and the NRL Grand final is on Sunday night. Whether you support either team one thing is a given and that is millions of Aussies will gather on both nights to watch the games.


Almost as important as watching the game is the food that you will have whether it be as your own family unit or together with friends and family. Traditionally major sporting events in Australia are usually accompanied by a BBQ in the backyard with family and friends.


In America one popular sporting event foods to serve (other than wings and hot dogs) is Sloppy Joes. Sloppy Joes is a quintessential meal based around minced beef. Popular from the 1940s and is said to be named after a cook named Joe from Iowa.


Our very much loved American Au Pair told our kids all about Sloppy Joes and having tried them myself in America we set about making them and the verdict was they were great!


Seriously why wouldnt Sloppy Joes be great in the eyes of kids! They have the perfect mix of being messy and oozy, sweet and savoury in every bite and a similar texture to a bolognese sauce.


The thing I like about Sloppy Joes is that they are quick and easy to make, definitely do not break the bank balance, easy to make a double batch to turn them into another meal and you can really pimp them up to make them gourmet.



Whether it is rolls or wraps the kids will love Sloppy Joes!


So this Grand Final Weekend why not make your own oozy batch of Sloppy Joes and team it with some brioche buns or artisan brad rolls, make up some salad or a colesalw and sit and watch the Grand Finals in style!


One last word from this Victorian living in North Queensland - Yellow and Black! (aka Go Tiges!)


Prep 10 min // Cook 20min


INGREDIENTS

500g mince beef

½ capsicum diced finely

1 onion diced finely

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tbs tomato paste

1 tbs sweet paprika

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 cup liquid chicken stock

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp mustard powder

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Pinch chilli flakes (optional)

1tbs butter

1 tsp olive oil

Bread rolls (Traditionally they are a sweet roll but choose your favourite)


METHOD

  1. Preheat oven grill, cut rolls in half and drizzle with oil and set aside.

  2. In a pan heat butter and oil over a medium heat and add the beef and break it into small chunks as it browns for about 5 minutes. When browned drain the excess liquid from the pan and transfer to a bowl.

  3. Add onion and capsicum and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add beef back to the pan and add the tomato paste and stir.

  5. Add tomato sauce, stock, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, chilli flakes (if using), sugar and paprika and stir well to combine.

  6. Cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes and while cooking grills the bread rolls until toasted.

  7. Remove meat from heat and serve in the toasted rolls!




Its no secret to people that Asian flavours are a favourite in my household. I love creating Asian style recipes and this is one of my all time favourites simply because of the depth of flavour in the sauce.


If my 6 years as a parent has taught me anything about kids and food it is this - kids love meatballs and they love rice so coupled together this is always a winner on the dinner table!


This recipe came about as I often use meatballs as a lunch option for the kids lunches. They love being in the kitchen with me rolling the "balls" when I batch cook for school and I know they will always be eaten when I use them in their lunchbox.


There is one thing I love more than a quick and easy lunchbox, and that is a dinner that has leftovers I can then use for lunches and portion off and freeze.


This recipe came up trumps for me. A simple trick of doubling both the rice and meatballs meant we had a beautiful dinner and I had 4 lunchbox options in the freezer:


Meatball subs - use dinner rolls and fill with meatballs, lettuce and cheese for a delicious sub

Meatballs and Rice - whether it be hot or cold this is a winner in all lunches

"Fried Rice" - my daughters favourite and I thinly slice some cooked chicken over the top

Cocktail meatballs - simply 3-4 meatballs with a food pick and there is lunch!


Prep 20 min // Cook 3 hours (meatballs are slow cooked)


INGREDIENTS

Meatballs

500g of pork/veal mince (or you can use lean beef)

2 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 tbs garlic powder

1 onion diced finely

1 tbs diced coriander


Sauce Ingredients

4 gloves garlic crushed

1 tsp ginger

1 cup hoisin sauce

3 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs Chinese cooking wine

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs honey

1 tbs brown sugar


Rice

2 cups cooked cold rice

1 packet steam fresh peas, corn and carrot cooked

½ red capsicum diced

3 tbs leftover sauce from slow cooker


METHOD

Meatballs

  1. Mix together all the meatball ingredients and roll tbs size mixture into a ball and set aside.

  2. Mix together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

  3. Place meatballs in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the top.

  4. Cook on high for 1 -2 hours or low for 2-4 hours,

Rice

  1. Place rice in a pan and stir fry for two minutes.

  2. Stir through the vegetables and add 3 tbs of the sauce from the slow cooker and stir through.

Place meatballs on top of the rice and drizzle over some of that amazing sauce!



A one pan dinner slow cooked in the oven that has a sauce that is so good you want to drink it and its on the table in 40 minutes sounds to good to be true! Well this recipe is exactly that and from start to finish your meal will be on the table within 40 minutes and I guarantee not even the fussiest of eaters will turn their nose up!


This recipe is an accident. I had one of those days where nothing went to plan from the moment I woke up until I realised at 5pm I had not put on the slow cooker as I had planned to. Instead of having our original honey soy slow cooked chicken (another amazing meal) I instead put a little of this and a little of that in a casserole dish and what we ended up with was soft and tender pull apart chicken with a creamy sauce that was light but had hints of mustard, honey and herbs that with every mouthful you wanted more.


This dish was so popular around our table that the hope of having leftovers for the kids the following night quickly diminished and all that was left at the end of the meal was clean plates and an empty casserole dish.


I served this with mashed potato and roasted root vegetables but looking back this is a dish that can be served with pasta, steamed rice or cooled and used in a pie so next time round I will make double the amount to freeze a portion for the next time nothing in my day goes to plan!


Prep 10 min // Cook 40 min


INGREDIENTS

4 chicken breasts cut lengthwise in half to make 8 breasts

4 rashes bacon diced

1 red capsicum diced

1 onion diced

3 tbs seeded mustard

3 tbs dijon mustard

1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan

2 tbs EDMK Italian herb spiced mix (or a commercial brand)

3 tbs minced garlic

1/2 cup creme fraiche (or cooking cream)

2 tbs cornflour

2 cups liquid chicken stock


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

  2. Heat small amount of oil in a ovenproof casserole dish and saute the onion, capsicum and bacon for 5 min.

  3. While the onion, bacon and capsicum is cooking, whisk together all remaining ingredients aside from chicken and Parmesan cheese until smooth.

  4. Place chicken in a single layer at bottom on casserole and top with bacon mixture.

  5. Pour over the sauce and then top with the cheese and gently mix through and place the casserole dish lid on.

  6. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender and serve with your preferred sides.

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