Friday, March 25, 2011

Sloppy Joes are a delicious mess.

When my son, William, was adopted, one thing we noticed about him was how neat he was. He would use several napkins during a meal, wiping his mouth and hands after every bite of food. Now he was only 2 years old, and wondered why he was like this. He also was completely potty trained (hooray!), but he also hated to get his clothing dirty. Inquiry time; and we found out that the orphanage in El Salvador had trained him to be this way. They wanted to make sure that American couples would not find any fault with the "perfect" children they were training, and try to return them. Seriously!?! This was rather disturbing to us in so many ways; the most being that they were not allowing to let a child be just that...a child.

It took us awhile to get him comfortable enough with the concept that it was ok to get dirty. Playing in the park, rolling down a grassy hillside, stomping through rain puddles were intended to be fun, and messy. Having fun with, and therefore enjoying, food was ok too, even if it was something that got you messy. Sloppy Joes is one of the ultimate messy foods; no matter how careful you are, the insides come gushing out of the bun when you hold it in your hands. Eat it with a fork? What fun is that!?!

Sloppy Joes is an easy meal to create; 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's 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 last night for dinner, and Roy couldn't wait to dive in. Umm, to eating the Sloppy Joes, not the crock pot itself; just want to clarify that.

So here's to messy eating; pass the napkins whenever.

Homemade Sloppy Joes


3 lbs lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
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)


In a large skillet, high heat, brown the ground beef.  When partially browned add diced onion, bell pepper, 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 and stir well. 

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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