Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Sloppy Joes Are a Delicious Mess.

 March 2023 came in like a lion, so should end peacefully like a lamb.  Yes, the snow is very much appreciated, but did it have to come all at once?  We, like many others, just do not have any clue as to where to put the shoveled snow any longer.  The piles have become so high, but with the sun shining down the past couple of days, they are melting and compacting downward.  We can actually see outside our kitchen window again!

With joints aching, I bet, like myself, prepping to cook meals was something not looked forward to.  So, the go-to item, that makes it less painful, is that wonderful invention, the crock pot.  All ingredients go inside, set the temperature, pop on the lid, and it is all ready to eat in a certain number of hours.

Now it is March, so I decided to look up what foods happen to have a silly national day devoted to them; and sloppy joes day is on March 18th.  Perfect!  The origin of the original sloppy joe recipe is very much in debate; being very popular will do that.  One theory of the origin is that in 1917, Havana, Cuba, bar owner José "Sloppy Joe" Abeal y Otero put together a sandwich of ground beef mixed with stewed tomatoes.  In 1937, Ernest Hemingway (yes, I am one of those readers that enjoys his writings) convinced Joe Russell, a bar owner in Key West, Florida, to rename his Silver Slipper bar, Sloppy Joes, for serving a similar sandwich.  However, the Heinz company said the “loose meat sandwich” was invented by a cook, named Joe, and sold in Sioux City, Iowa, in the 1930s.  …and yes, there are a few more stories, with origin dates from the 1930s to 1950s.


Whatever the truth is, this sandwich is easy to make, messy to eat, and a favorite in the majority of households throughout the United States.  On “Big Bang Theory, it happened to be one of Sheldon Cooper’s favorite meals, along with a side of fries. Alright, he ate it using a knife and fork, but still, we all know it was a messy sandwich to deal with, but he loved eating it!


Sloppy Joes can be made in one pan on the stove, or in the crock pot. While basic ingredients are meat, tomatoes and a sauce; other veggies can be added to boost up the nutritional value, and it is fun to eat!!! It can be stretched to feed a large family; especially with the addition of a side salad or macaroni and cheese. I made a crock pot of it during one, of many, snow storms, and Roy could not wait to dive in. Umm, to eating the sloppy joes, not the crock pot itself; just want to clarify that.

By the way, did you know that sloppy joes make great nachos?  A couple of days later we were in the mood for nachos, but out of ground beef which I had used up for the sloppy joes. Hold on I thought, sloppy joes have ground beef, tomatoes, chile peppers; all I really need to make nachos is to add beans, mix and pour over the tortilla chips. One big difference, instead of Mexican seasoning, there was barbecue sauce and it was delicious! The barbecue sauce was zesty and smoky; but the beans, shredded Mexican mix cheese and sour cream gave the illusion of chili.  


Homemade Sloppy Joes



3 lbs. lean ground beef

1 small onion, diced

¼ cup each of diced green bell and red bell peppers

1 Tbsp. non-salt seasoning mix

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

4 cups barbeque sauce (KC Masterpiece, Bullseye, Sweet Baby Ray’s are the best choices)

12 sandwich buns


In a large skillet, high heat, brown the ground beef.  When partially browned add diced onion, bell peppers, seasoning mix and garlic; mix well and fully brown meat; drain off the excess oil.  Place in a 4-qt crock pot; add in remaining ingredients (except the sandwich buns) and stir well.

Put on the lid, set temperature, and try to be patient while it cooks.

Low heat – will cook in 4-5 hours.

High heat – will cook in 2-3 hours.

 Makes 12 servings.

Mary Cokenour




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