Mary Ellen’s Sloppy Joes

Yesterday as I was going down (or was it up?) the grocery aisle, I asked my daughter “What should I make for dinner?”  Without skipping a beat, she said “sloppy joes”.  Where she came up with that idea is beyond me.  I haven’t made them in ages, but it’s a great idea.

Sloppy Joes are a classic, American go-to sandwich.  As I was making them, I wondered about why are they called sloppy joes?  I get the sloppy.  But what about Joe?  So a quick wikipedia later… The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented by a cook named Joe at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa, as a variation of the popular “loose meat” sandwich (which does not contain tomato sauce).  Way to go Joe!

Sloppy joes are perfect for a family on the go or for a crowd at a football game. It’s so easy to make and easy to reheat.  My friend Mary Ellen gave me this recipe and it’s a family favorite.

Mary Ellen’s Sloppy Joes – Serves 6

  • 1 lb. ground beef (For a healthier option, you can use ground turkey, but add 1 tbsp of olive oil when browning)  (Oh yeah, ground turkey doesn’t brown.  It turns kinda beige.)
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (I like the dark because of the molasses, but you can use light)
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Hamburger buns
Instructions
  1. In a medium size skillet, brown the ground beef and move to a separate bowl.Browned ground beef
  2. Drain the fat except for 1 tbsp.  For a little healthier version, you can drain all the fat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil instead to the skillet.
  3. Sauté the onions and celery until tender for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef back to the skillet and stir on medium heat.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper.
  6. Stir and simmer on low for 10 minutes.  You may add a little more water if it seems too thick.
  7. Adjust salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
  8. Scoop about 1/3 cup of meat onto each hamburger bun and enjoy.

Bonus:

Sloppy Joes are great for a crowd.  Make the recipe as above (double, triple…) and place in a crock pot with a little more of water.  Set the crock pot to low to keep warm under ready to serve.

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