Thursday, March 14, 2013

Homemade Sloppy Joes

One of the reasons why I love Facebook is that it has reconnected me with several of my high school friends that I'd completely lost touch with. This recipe is from my friend, Amy, one of my high school besties. Amy has mentioned Homemade Sloppy Joes more than a few times in her status updates, and after she made them again a few days ago I finally asked her for the recipe.

It was an 'Enough! I must make these!' moment.

This is what Amy says about her Sloppy Joes:
After having my son I was sentimental about some of the favorite foods that I grew up on. I wanted to make them but, put a updated and healthy spin on the original. After seeing a Sloppy Joe recipe in the first Every Day Food cookbook, I was inspired. After seeing the list of ingredients I decided to play around with it. Adding extra shredded veggies (its a must with a picky eater) and updating it with a hint of smokiness and up the robust flavor. I doubled the Worcestershire sauce, added smoked paprika and just a small amount of brown sugar. After that combination, I never looked back! 
I remember that I really liked Sloppy Joes as a kid, but I haven't had one since someone else was cooking for me. I'm so grateful she shared her recipe because as she promised me, they were really easy to make and really, really tasty. She told me that it is also very good on a baked sweet potato, which I totally and completely believe. Turns out it's also delicious on soft polenta. I love polenta, and couldn't resist:

The instructions say to finely chop the veggies. To make the job super easy I coarsely chopped them and then finished them in my food processor. Just pulse 2-3 seconds a few times, scrape the sides, and then repeat 3 or 4 times until the veggies are finely diced and pretty consistent in size. Stop before you make veggie mush. Sometimes Amy adds shredded carrots or zucchini to the mix, so feel free to mix it up a bit if you want.

Note: For the Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and brown sugar, I suggest you start with the smaller amount and then add more after you taste it. You can always add more, you can't take it out. My Sloppy Joes were a little sweet this time, so next time I'll use less--or even no--sugar.

Homemade Sloppy Joes (from the super-fabulous Amy)
printable recipe

2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1-2 teaspoons chili powder or smoked paprika, to taste
1-3 teaspoons brown sugar, to taste
shredded sharp cheddar cheese, if desired
Split and toasted hamburger buns OR baked sweet potatoes OR soft polenta

1. Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a high simmer, cover, reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and rich, 20-30 minutes.

4. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon onto toasted buns, into baked sweet potatoes, or over soft polenta.

Makes 8 1/2-cups servings of the meat mixture.

Nutritional info:
1/2 cup mixture: 3 Weight Watcher's Plus Points.
3/4 cup mixture: 5 Weight Watcher's Plus Points.
1/2 cup mixture: 175.5 cal; 10.9g fat; 7.2g carb; 1.1g fiber; 11.4g protein.

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