Budget Bytes

01 November 2012

joe's special (my way)

$9.18 recipe / $1.53 serving
This recipe comes courtesy of my dear friend, Ashley. She was looking for something to cook for dinner one night and decided to type the ingredients she had on hand into google (I think it was google) and Joe's Special popped up.

Joe's Special is a recipe created and made famous by a San Francisco restaurant, which basically consists of ground beef, spinach, and eggs. There have been hundreds of variations since, and this is one of them. What makes this version mine? Well, just that I added what I had in my fridge. Primarily feta cheese, which happens to go right along with the spinach and oregano already in the basic recipe. If you don't have feta, no worries, just use parmesan alone and it will still be delish.

I listed the serving size for this recipe as just one cup. Sure, that's kind of small, but I really see this dish as just one part of a breakfast (or lunch, or dinner). Serve it open face over whole grain toast, stuffed inside a pita, and with a piece of fresh fruit on the side for a well rounded meal.

Joe's Special

Joe's Special

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Total Recipe cost: $9.18
Servings Per Recipe: 6 (1 cup each)
Cost per serving: $1.53
Prep time: 5 min. Cook time: 25 min. Total: 30 min.

2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
1 small yellow onion $0.28
2 cloves garlic $0.16
1 lb. ground beef $4.93
1.5 tsp dried oregano $0.07
1/2 tsp salt $0.03
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce $0.06
1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.75
6 large eggs $1.50
2 oz. feta cheese (optional) $0.87
2 Tbsp grated parmesan $0.21
TOTAL $9.18

STEP 1: Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Cook both in skillet with olive oil over medium heat until soft and transparent (about 5 minutes).

STEP 2: Add the ground beef, oregano, salt, and worcestershire sauce. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks (7-10 minutes).

STEP 3: Once the beef is fully cooked, add the frozen spinach. Cook and stir until it has thawed and heated through, breaking up clumps as you go.

STEP 4: Briefly whisk 6 eggs in a bowl. Push the beef and spinach mixture to one side of the skillet (or make a well in the center) and pour in the eggs. Gently scramble the eggs until they are cooked through, but still moist. Try not to mix them into the meat as they cook or you'll have beef coated in egg, rather than clumps of cooked egg. Once the egg is cooked, stir it into the beef mixture and turn off the burner.

STEP 5: Crumble or roughly chop the feta cheese and sprinkle it over the skillet. Also sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Stir to combine, taste, adjust the salt if needed, and then serve.

Joe's Special
Sriracha - because that's how I roll. What did you expect?

Step By Step Photos

onion garlic
Start here, as usual. Minced garlic, diced onion, olive oil. Cook over medium heat until soft and transparent.

beef herbs
Next add the ground beef, oregano, and salt. If you're feeling sassy, add some crushed red pepper flakes.

Also add the worcestershire sauce, which gives the dish some extra savory-oomph and just a touch of sweetness. Cook until the beef is fully browned.

I tend to like the frozen spinach in a bag rather than the block because I think it has a better texture, but you could certainly use the block kind if you need. Just make sure that it's CHOPPED spinach, so that you don't have long stringy pieces. I used a half pound (8 ounces), but if you want to use a whole 10 ounce block, that would work just fine.

add spinach
Once the beef is fully cooked, add the spinach. Keep cooking until the spinach thaws and then fully heats through.

While the spinach is cooking, lightly whisk the eggs. I don't like to whisk until completely smooth because I like some separation of white and yolk, but that's just me. Push the beef mixture to the side and pour in the eggs. Cook the eggs without mixing it in with the beef. Only combine the two sides once the eggs have cooked, otherwise you'll just coat the beef in eggs and you won't have any egg clumps. If your pan has a thin bottom or doesn't heat evenly, you can do this in the center of the pan (right over the heat) instead of on the side. Just push the beef out to the edges.

mix egg beef
Once the egg is cooked, stir it into the beef and turn off the burner. If you want even BIGGER clumps of egg, scramble them in a separate skillet then stir them in.

Roughly chop the feta or crumble it with your hands. If you're using just parmesan, increase the amount to 1/4 cup instead of just 2 tablespoons.

feta parmesan
Add the cheeses to the skillet.

finished joe's special
Stir it all together, taste, and adjust the salt if needed. The amount and type of cheese that you use will dictate how much salt is needed.

Joe's Special
You don't have to wait for breakfast to have this super filling dish...

Joe's Special
Stuff it inside of a pita or serve over a slice of hearty toast. I have to admit, a tomato would be AWESOME with this!

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  • At November 1, 2012 at 4:53 PM , Blogger lumenatrix said...

    Yay, Joe's Special! I'm an SF kid and my mom used to make this on those nights when you get home and everyone is starving and no one wants to cook. I love your idea of adding fetta, I'll probably add that in when I make it from now on too.

    Just FYI, it is delicious with tomatoes. Lots of times my mom would make a simple cucumber/tomato salad to go with it. It's also served at the restaurant on the Brunch menu. So, so tasty after a night out. :)

  • At November 1, 2012 at 5:23 PM , Anonymous Libby said...

    Your recipes never let me down! Cannot wait to try this one, thanks!

  • At November 1, 2012 at 5:25 PM , Blogger Terry said...

    This would be great with some tortillas = yummmm!

  • At November 1, 2012 at 5:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Joe's special has been heavy in my rotation for 15 years, this version looks terrific.

  • At November 1, 2012 at 7:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I don't mean to be a bother but your total doesn't match.

  • At November 1, 2012 at 7:21 PM , Blogger Beth M said...

    Hahah, no bother. I'm HAPPY when people let me know about my typos! I forget to change that last number on the table way too often... fixing now ;)

  • At November 1, 2012 at 8:49 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

    Hah! My parents lived in San Francisco for years and my dad calls his variation "Jeffer Scramble"! Good memories! <3

  • At November 12, 2012 at 8:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm def trying this with feta next time...it's such an ugly dish but you got nice pictures of it! You're awesome!


  • At January 30, 2013 at 3:57 PM , Anonymous AnaĆ«lle said...

    Now THAT would be my last day on earth meal. I tried once and I can't stop myself now. It's so easy, so tasty... It's even better after being microwaved, isn't that the dream?
    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  • At February 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM , Blogger Dana said...

    Typed my ingredients into google and this popped up. I had a packaged of faux burger crumbles, frozen spinach, and feta cheese.
    Made this and served over toasted slices of the bread I baked this morning. Topped off with a touch of fresh made salsa it was superb! Thanks:)


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