Easy burger casseroles…plus Sunkist Cake

Casseroles and easy meals are a giant part of the lives of busy people, and since many of my recipes are specifically geared toward all of my readers who are very busy, these recipes that I have provided this week will certainly please! First, the most awesome sloppy joe recipe in the world!!! Adding a touch of cream cheese to sloppy joes makes them a hundred times better! Your kids and teens will fight over these super scrumptious “cream cheesy” sloppy joes! These sloppy joes may be served with an easy vegetable or potato chips for a simple weeknight meal! The second recipe is a yummy chili mac recipe. In my many years of eating chili mac-style recipes, I have eaten many not even worth printing.

However, the chili mac recipe that you have before you this week must be your standard recipe from now on!!! Cut it out, readers! This chili mac recipe is rich, cheesy and has a little “kick” to it. You will not be disappointed. My final recipe is my own recipe for an easy cake called a Sunkist Cake that can be prepared with your weeknight easy meal. It is one of my favorite cake recipes-and so simple to prepare! I hope your family will be enjoying these delicious meals this week! Enjoy, readers!

Brock’s “Cream Cheesy” Sloppy Joes

Note: These sloppy joes are a little bit different from your normal sloppy joes, but they are richer and even more delicious. I always put a slice of cheese on top of mine, in between the burger buns.

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
Half tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can regular Manwich sloppy joe sauce
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
Toasted hamburger buns
Blue Plate mayonnaise (to spread on buns)

In a large deep skillet, cook meat with onion, salt and pepper, and drain very well. Place meat back in skillet, and turn heat on medium. Add brown sugar, Manwich sauce, softened cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted through the mixture, and the mixture is heated through. Serve mixture on toasted hamburger buns. To toast hamburger buns, spread each open faced bun liberally with mayonnaise. Toast in oven at 450 degrees 3-4 minutes until light brown (making sure not to burn). This will serve six people, but if the family is very hungry, there may be a possibility that the number changes to four servings.

Brock’s Cheezy Chili Mac

Note: Chili Mac is an easy macaroni hamburger casserole supper. Kids love it, and it’s served very well with some homemade garlic bread, buttered and toasted.

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can mild Ro-Tel (w/ juice)
2 (15 oz.) cans hot dog chili (no beans)
8 oz. grated Velveeta cheese
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
Dash salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. chili powder

Cook meat with onion and drain. While meat is cooking, boil macaroni until tender. Drain. Add meat and macaroni to a large cooking pot on stove. Turn heat up to medium and add remaining ingredients. Allow all ingredients to mix and melt together, and then simmer until bubbly and cheese is melted. If needed, add a little more salt (to suit your personal taste). Spoon out your servings onto plates. Serve with crackers, Fritos or with a nice green salad and toasted buttered garlic bread.

Brock’s Sunkist Cake

Note: I tell you this was totally a cake that I invented. There must have been a “food” spirit in the air telling me to use orange Sunkist soda in a lemon cake mix instead of water. Well, I did, and a delicious cake was born. This cake is delicious, readers!

1 Duncan Hines lemon supreme cake mix
3 extra-large eggs
One and one third cups fizzy Sunkist soda (orange)
One third cup oil
1 reg. box lemon Jell-O gelatin (not pudding)
Sifted powdered sugar (for top)

Put all ingredients into mixing bowl and mix with electric mixer on medium high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Pour into a very well-greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Use Crisco shortening to grease and self-rising flour to flour the pan. I use traditional Bundt pan, not pound cake pan. Bake for about 37-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven to cool and turn out on to a cake plate. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar after cool.

Editor’s note:
Brock Wetherly Rogers is an educator, food writer, overseas traveler and passionate student of the culinary and pastry arts. E-mail him at brockrogers1@gmail.com, or find him on Facebook.