Sunday, August 28

Homemade Sloppy Joes (No can!)

Everyone has their own comfort food that brings back good memories.  One of mine is Sloppy Joes.  I always think of Fall when these come to mind and maybe since we’re on the verge of entering Fall that could explain why I was craving these.  Growing up my mom made Manwich sloppy joes and I thought they were great.  But within the past few years I’ve learned how to make my own homemade sloppy joes.  I heard about people making their own mixture and I thought it seemed like a lot of effort, but trust me, it’s not that much more difficult than opening a can of Manwich.  Try it for yourself and I bet you’ll like these a lot better.  

Most likely you’ll find that you already have many of the ingredients needed to make your own sloppy joes.  Right now is an especially good time since it’s barbecuing season and I think just about everyone has barbecue sauce on hand.  If you don’t, and aren’t sure of what kind to get, my recommendation is to use any flavor of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce.  Mmm, love their sauce!  There are fresh vegetables incorporated in this recipe such as onion, celery, and red pepper.  If you feel one of your favorites is missing, add it!  The original recipe doesn’t incorporate red pepper but I think it adds a nice subtle flavor which is why I’ve added it.  

Spread chopped vegetables in skillet before adding ground beef on top

Meat mixture before sauce is created/added
One of the modifications I’ve made is to serve the sloppy joes on toasted bread.  This happened when we were out of hamburger buns and I decided bread would just have to work.  If the bread is toasted (same secret for hamburger buns), it will hold up better and not become soggy when the mixture is placed on top.   The bread can be used to create a sandwich or the meat mixture can be placed on top of one bread slice and served open faced (using a fork to eat it).   We’ve now resorted to using bread all the time.  It’s much easier as it’s something we always have on hand. 

If you follow the directions below you’ll see that sloppy joes are easy to make and can be made fairly quickly too.  One of the things I love about creating your own sloppy joes is that they have a nice slight crunch from the sautéed vegetables.  I’ve never tasted that from using a canned mixture.  Beyond that, the barbecue flavor is just as good as Manwich and other varieties, but a lot less sodium and minus the weird ingredients that you’ve never heard of.   Now that I’ve experienced the flavor of making my own, I will never go back to opening another can of Manwich! 

Homemade Sloppy Joes
Serves 4-6
Prep Time:  10 mins.
Total Time: 30 mins.

  •     1 lb ground beef
  •     3 stalks celery, chopped
  •     1 medium vidalia onion, chopped
  •     1 red pepper, chopped
  •     1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  •     1/4 cup ketchup
  •     1/4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite kind)
  •     1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  •     1 teaspoon dry mustard
  •     salt and pepper
  •     shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese (optional)
  •     1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  •     1 tablespoon vinegar

    1. Add chopped onion, celery, and red pepper to a large skillet.  Place hamburger meat directly on top of the vegetables and turn heat on to medium high. 
    2. Mix & combine beef and fresh vegetables together as they cook.  When the meat is browned and thoroughly combined with the vegetables, drain the fat.
    3. After fat is drained, return beef/vegetable mixture to the skillet.  Cooking over low heat, add in the remaining ingredients.
    4. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes; stirring occasionally.
    5. Remove cover and let some of the moisture evaporate (approximately 3-5 minutes); stirring occasionally.
    6. Serve on toasted bread or toasted buns.  If desired, top sloppy joes with shredded cheese when served on the bread/buns.

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