Sloppy Joes

I think I am on a foods-I-enjoyed-as-a-kid kick. But who cares? I’m just glad to be cooking regularly again.

Mike and I actually ate vegan sloppy Joes from a boxed mix quite a bit the last few years, so I was curious how difficult it would be to recreate the recipe with real meat.

I turned to a comfort food expert for this one – the Pioneer Woman. Her recipe looked great, but it was definitely written for a family much bigger than ours. So I fiddled around with the measurements (adding more of some stuff I like) and came up with this:

Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup (could go up to 3/4 cup, if you like)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinches of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 whole wheat buns

Instead of using butter, I decided to cook the meat together with the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. There’s plenty of fat that comes off of the meat, and if you get too much, you can drain it off once it’s all cooked.

This made more than enough for two dinners, but I appreciated the leftovers.

Then I mixed in all the remaining ingredients (except the buns, of course), and let the mixture simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Right away it picked up that Manwich hue, and I knew the recipe was legit.

Toast the buns if you want them to hold up a little bit better. Wish I would have realized that as a kid.

Mike thought it might be nice to use something like ground turkey next time just to make it a little lighter. I’ve tried making Joes with mashed tofu before, too, and it works pretty well.