26 February 2014

Homemade Sloppy Joes (Lightened up!)

sloppy joe
Several months ago, I got this silly notion that somehow, childhood would NOT be complete without the introduction of the iconic American Sloppy Joe. I told you, silly. Apparently, I recollected some fond memories of sweet meat on soft buns, messy smiling faces, and lots o’ napkins. 
I admit it. On an impulse buy at the grocery store, I picked up a can of that Manwich stuff and well, apparently, decided the time had come. I’m not ashamed to say that I whipped it up that night and darn if kids will be kids. The girls absolutely loved it! What’s not to love, right? After all, the name itself promises to be sloppy. And for kids… sloppy equals fun!
My hubby ate the Manwich meal, but let’s just say he wasn’t as impressed as the girls. Maybe his grown up palate knew the canned stuff was actually pretty lame? Let me save you the trouble (incase you too have some silly notions about childhood and sloppy joes and decide to make an impulse buy at the grocery store). The stuff in the can is filled with watered down tomato base, high fructose corn syrup and lots of different gums (used as a thickener). Now, as long as you’re not eating this stuff everyday, I don’t think it’s going to kill you or anything.  
Fast forward many months and now it’s 5 o’clock on a weeknight. I left out a package of ground turkey to defrost but the day got away from me and I didn’t have a chance to do anything with it. Sound familiar? OK, maybe that’s just me.
Well, have no fear. Pioneer Woman to the rescue!
I remember seeing an episode where she made homemade Sloppy Joes so I filed that away in my brain and quickly got online to find her recipe. 
Enter Sloppy Joe dinner… Take 2!!
sloppy mix
Turns out it is SO EASY! The whole thing came together in about 20 minutes and I had all the ingredients on hand! I bet you do, too. And, you can feel good about this one because you can pronounce all the ingredients you put into it.
The girls loved it once again and raved, “Mama is the best cook in all the land!” Lol!!
And this time around, Morgan ate TWO sandwiches and said, “This is WAY better than that canned stuff.” ;)
Here’s my lightened up version…
Homemade Sloppy Joes
(Serves 4-5)
  • 1.25 pounds Ground Turkey (or Beef)
  • 1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1- 2 cups chicken stock or water (depends how thick you like your meat sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • a few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
  • Salt & Pepper, To Taste
  • Toasted Rolls (I used hoagie rolls but any roll or bun would do)
Preparation Instructions
Cook ground meat in a large skillet or pot with salt and pepper until brown. If using beef, then drain the fat and discard.
Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.
Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and chicken stock or water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Toast rolls in the broiler. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls. Serve hot with lots o’ napkins or wipes.
We had fresh corn on the cob and a raw veggie plate on the side. Delish!
Go ahead. You know you want to. Your childhood is calling! 
photos via Pioneer Woman

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