Super Simple Sloppy Joes

The Starving Artist recently splurged a bit on a nostalgic impulse buy. When the UPS man showed up with his giant box, I was once again the proud owner of a brand spank'n new, cherry red, Schwinn cruiser. One speed and pedal brakes, just like when I was a 10 years old. Those were the glory days. That bike bought freedom. Cruising the neighborhood, pop'n wheelies, baseball cards in the spokes, stopping by a neighbor's house to grab a quick drink from the hose – not a care in the world. Just be home when the street lights come on. And once you got home, mom had the perfect summer supper on the stove. Sloppy Joes. So drop your bike in the front yard, sprint to the kitchen, and grab a plate of these Super Simple Sloppy Joes. Nostalgia tastes great.



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 & 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup chunky salsa (I used H-E-B Thick N' Chunky Mild Salsa)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Potato rolls, for serving


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the ground beef. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease.
  2. Next, stir in ketchup, salsa, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, white vinegar, Dijon mustard, and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Serve on potato rolls, and taste the nostalgia.

Philly Cheese Steak Grilled Cheese

Leftovers can be a troublesome thing. The starving artist never knows exactly what to do with them. I'm invested. I've put time, energy, even a little creativity into whipping up something special only to find I made too much for a reclusive, single guy to polish off.  I don't want to just throw them out, but how do you bring new life to something the day after when you're a lazy starving artist? Just reheating doesn't seem right. The remains of good meal – and good times – should be polished off in way that gives new life to those memories. Sort of like remembering old friends. That's where this Philly Cheese Steak Grilled Cheese Sandwich comes in. The rebirth of leftover steak, the discovery of something new, and the rekindling of good times with solid – albeit quirky – friends.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 slices of white onion
  • 8-10 thin slices of green bell pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1/3 heaping cup of thinly sliced leftover steak
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 Slices of provolone cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • 2 slices of French bread
  • Butter


  1. Add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat.
  2. Slice the onion, chop the slices in half, then add to the pan once it's heated.
  3. Once the onions begin to soften (about 5 minutes), add the sliced green pepper and minced garlic, cooking for about two minutes.
  4. Next, add in the sliced steak. Salt and pepper to taste, then c ook until the steak is warm.
  5. Spread a little butter on the outside of each slice of bread, and spread mayonnaise on the inside of both slices. (Yes, I know, mayonnaise is NOT a traditional cheese steak ingredient.)
  6. Place the steak mix on the bread, top with the provolone cheese, and then the other slice of bread.
  7. Place your soon-to-be delicious sandwich in the pan, turn heat to medium, and cook until golden brown on each side.
  8. Cut in half, dig in, and remember the good old days.

Fake Shack Burger

Growing up in Texas – and Texas means Whataburger country – the Starving Artist developed a certain taste in burgers. Mustard, lettuce, pickles, onions – occasionally tomatoes – and always American cheese. Simple, delicious, and proper. That was until a few years back when I tasted my first Shake Shack Burger. Oh yeah, that special sauce. I can't speak from personal experience, but it felt like meeting a woman in a hotel bar on a business trip, slowly hiding your wedding ring, and... well, I won't go any further. I cheated on Whataburger, and now I'm in love with my mistress. I've spent years trying to recreate that amazing sauce, and I think I've finally found it in the studio. Introducing the Fake Shack Burger. I know, lousy name, and it probably violates all kinds of copyright laws. But have a heart. The Starving Artist can't be endlessly creative. Or responsible. Anyhow, enjoy this burger.


 Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Burger Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ground beef sirloin
  • 8 ounces ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 4 potato burger buns
  • 4 tablespoons shack sauce
  • Your favorite lettuce
  • 8 slices ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 slices yellow American cheese


  1. Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickles, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside. (It makes about 3/4 cup sauce.)
  2. Now, gently mix together the sirloin and  chuck in a mixing bowl until just combined. Form into 4 patties, each about 2 inches tall and 2 1/2 inches wide. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
  3. Next, split open the buns and spread with a thin coating of butter, then toast in a skillet until brown, about 1 minute. Spread about 1 tablespoon of shake sauce on the top half of each bun, then place lettuce and tomato on the top half of each bun.
  4. Now comes the fun. Add oil to a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, then heat over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Generously season your hamburger patties on top side with salt and pepper, then transfer, seasoned side down, to the hot skillet. Use a heavy, flat spatula to press down and lightly flatten the beef patties. Season top-facing side with salt and pepper. Cook until a crisp brown crust has formed, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Finally, carefully loosen any crusty parts of the burger patties from the skillet, and flip over. Top each patty with 1 slice of American cheese and cook until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the patties to burger bun bottoms, top with the the top bun (including tomatoes and lettuce), and serve hot.

Easy Egg & Pepper Sandwich

Life has been pretty uneventful for the Starving Artist of late, what with the broken leg and all. As a result I've got very little to share, other than this amazingly simple and delicious Egg & Pepper Sandwich. It's been my go to comfort food the last few weeks, and I think you'll like it too.



  • 2 Ciabatta rolls
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced


  1. Toast the Ciabatta buns if desired, then cut the bell peppers and onion into strips and set aside.
  2. Next, crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, then add the Romano cheese, salt, pepper, and basil, then whisk.
  3. Now, heat a nonstick pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the oil, peppers, and onions, and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and remove from heat.
  4. Finally, add the egg mixture to the pan and return to the heat. Lightly scramble, fold, then serve on your Ciabatta rolls.

Chicken Sliders with Hoisin Beer BBQ sauce

The Starving Artist went on what could reasonably be called a date this weekend. You could also reasonably call it a bender. Either way, it's a rare occurrence, and I was in rare form. That said, I spent most of Saturday on the couch recovering, dreaming up this slider recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. Obviously it's a little late for your Super Bowl party, but it's not too late for March Madness or baseball's Opening Day. I'm sure you'll find an occasion to whip up these amazing sliders.



For the Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup beer

For The Braised Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups beer
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 15 mini Hawaiian bread rolls


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle the chicken with salt on all sides, then place in the pot and cook on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Cover with 1 and a 1/2 cups of beer and 1/2 cup chicken broth, then cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked.
  2. While chicken is cooking, prepare the barbecue sauce by warming olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add 1 cup beer, hoisin sauce, chili powder and soy sauce. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened and reduced, then remove from heat.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from pot and allow to cool. Using two forks, shred chicken as thinly as possible, then add to hoisin barbecue sauce, tossing well to coat.
  4. Split rolls in half across the middle to resemble small sandwich buns, fill with chicken.