Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are awesome. They're messy and full of flavor and give you an excuse to lick your fingers at the dinner table. Those qualities alone should gain them a place on the 30 Family Favorites list.

My mother-in-law made this meal for her eight kids for years. I talked her out of the recipe. The rest is history.

These joes are the perfect balance of tangy with a touch of sweet, inexpensive to make, can be made ahead of time, can be frozen, and can hide healthy things. I've substituted cracked wheat cereal or 9-grain cereal for up to half of the meat without getting caught.

I did make some changes to her original recipe to fit my family's needs. I believe in the make it in a hurry method whenever possible. Life is busy. Kids have sports. Sometimes I forget to start dinner....sigh.

Sloppy Joes

2 lb hamburger
2 c catsup
1 T lemon juice
½ c chopped celery
¼ c chopped green pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 T vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ T Worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar
¼ c water
½ T dry mustard (or less)

Brown meat and drain. Add all ingredients and let cook on low heat for one hour or longer until sauce becomes thick.
My In a Hurry Method: Brown and drain the hamburger. While meat is cooking, sauté the celery, peppers, and onion in 1 T butter until tender, then add to the meat. Add all remaining ingredients, but omit the water. Simmer for 10 -15 minutes.
Healthy variation: I have also substituted up to 2 cups of cooked 9-grain or cracked wheat cereal for half of the hamburger. This was usually left-overs from breakfast. Kids never knew the difference.

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