A Forever Favorite: Hobo Joes
Who'd a thunk it?
It's funny the things that manage to stick with you over the years. I didn't do much cooking growing up, but boy could I bake up a storm (chocolate chip cookies were my specialty back then - although I've long since graduated to a carrot cake from scratch - Yum! :o) My mom wasn't all that keen on baking or cooking, although she did cook supper every night, and always adhered to the balanced nutrition rule. Maybe my mom being none too keen on cooking is why I never developed an interest in it; until I married a Southern Boy that is...but that's a whole OTHER story.
I was a Brownie in elementary school and continued on into Girl Scouts. Who knew that my first (and only) camping trip in the sixth grade would provide me with a life long (and sometimes life saving) recipe??? But it did, and I've decided to share it with you here. Now before you get too excited, it's not exactly cordon-bleu cooking (you'll have to visit Chef Keem for that - see his link further down this lens :o) BUT it is very simple to make, can be easily adjusted to accommodate a change in the number of people and/or ingredients and it's also inexpensive. Does it get any better? Well yeah, but only if you can find someone ELSE to clean up the kitchen...
Canny cooking for campers
So who needs a pot anyway? Um, I do thanks :o)
Maybe it was the actual method of cooking this meal that had it sticking so well in my mind: we cooked it in a beat up old Maxwell House coffee can over an open fire. Of course I was just sure someone would keel over from something that night after eating out of that sorry looking old can, because...well, just because (no one did though :o)
I don't remember how the ground beef was browned, only that it went into the can, nor do I recall exactly who did what. I DO remember being in charge of the cheese - it was the sliced kind in individual wrappers - my job was to open them all and break the slices up into small pieces so it would melt better.
I also remember sitting down in the circle with my plate dreading the ordeal to come. I was (and still am) a ridiculously picky eater, so it was a given this food would probably be forced down and followed by a completely insincere, "thank you, that was very good". I didn't like Sloppy Joes, casseroles or Chili and since this appeared to be another one of those "mixed up" foods, chances were pretty good I wasn't going to like this either. Imagine my total surprise when I realized the microscopic bite I'd just eaten was absolutely DELICIOUS! I quickly cleaned my plate and asked the troop leader for the recipe.
Love collecting recipes? Me too! Jot 'em down the old fashioned way...
The Original Recipe - [Coffee can and open fire are optional]
That was then...
and this is now
For a number of years I cooked this meal in an electric skillet (do they still make those?) Now I make it in either a large deep skillet with a lid or a stock pot. I've also played with the recipe a bit and come up with a slightly different version (below this module).
WHAT IT IS:
Supereasy & Superquick - The biggest part of the cooking is just browning the ground beef and it's a simple matter to keep the ingredients on hand for a quick meal.
Economical & Easy to Increase - Purchase your ground beef on sale; you can also double or triple the recipe and freeze half of it for another meal (or two) in a jiffy.
Fun & Filling - One way to help persnickety kids get their veggies (and to this day it remains the ONLY way to get me to eat lima beans - blech! :o) It's also a "sticks to your ribs food" that fills you up, so you won't be hungry 20 minutes later.
WHAT IT ISN'T:
Pretty - if you are looking for a culinary masterpiece to wow some hoity-toity dinner guests, this would not be it.
The new and [slightly] improved* version - *subject to diner's opinion of course :o)
Got a pot? Want a pan? - Look! I even found an electric skillet :o)
Here's all you need... - Not much to it, is there?
Pita Pockets or Hamburger Buns - Take your pick :o)
Handy Hint #1
Kitchen scissors are just perfect for tasks like this; use them instead of a knife to quickly and easily cut your pockets in two :o)
Kitchen scissors are super
Don't have any kitchen shears? - We can fix that :o)
I love my shears - I even have a spare pair in case mine are in the dishwasher. Yep, they go right in there with everything else (and who doesn't love that dishwasher safe stuff, right?)
Brown your ground beef - and drain it thoroughly
Handy Hint #2
Can't always afford to buy the "good stuff" like ground chuck? Take your kitchen sprayer and rinse off your ground beef [with hot water] as it drains in the colander. It will help to get rid of a little more of that artery clogging fat :o)
Wash away the fat
Add your soup - and mix it up
Sprinkle in your cheese - and cook on low until completely melted
Handy Hint #3
Not only does a lid cut down on stovetop splatter when browning your beef, it will help melt the cheese more quickly (and then you can eat sooner :o)
Put a lid on it
Fill your pockets - A lot or a little...
WOO-HOO! Let's eat - YUM :o)
Handy Hint #4
I sometimes double or triple my recipe and cook it in a big stock pot so there are leftovers to freeze for another day's dinner. Hobo Joes make great reheatables and you can even freeze 'em individually in the pockets (and how cool is that? :o)
Freeze it right in the pocket
Want to seal some extra meals? - I love my food saver! :o)
- Chef Keem :: My Lensography
My world looks different through my squid eyes: clearer, more thought-out, better researched, better understood.Make no bones about it - I love Squidoo, and it was love at first sight...