Thursday, September 5, 2013

Recipe - Kid Friendly Sloppy Joes w/Homemade Sauce

My kids love Sloppy Joes and what's not to love?  They have an excuse to eat messily and get food all over themselves!  But I really don't like canned sloppy joe sauces - they are too sweet and loaded with nasty, unhealthy ingredients, so I decided to make my own homemade sauce.  And thanks to the internet...more specifically Food Network (one of my favorites), one of the first recipes that popped up was a Rachel Ray recipe.  I looked it over and saw that I had almost all of the ingredients and I read most of the ratings and reviews and made some adjustments to the recipe to suit my kids' taste.  

Cooks notes:

  • I used 80/20 beef and drained the excess oil/water out before proceeding with the recipe below.  
  • Two of my kids are not big fans of bell peppers so I substituted grated carrots instead (and they had no idea that it was in the recipe).  
  • I also reduced the Montreal Steak seasoning to 1 1/2 teaspoons so it wouldn't be too spicy for my kids.  
  • I did not have tomato sauce so I subbed 3/4 cup natural ketchup (no added sugar) and 1 1/4 cup basic/simple marinara sauce.  
In the end, my kids thought this was awesome and I will never buy the canned stuff again.  I think my kids might even like the leftovers tossed with some pasta.  I even used this mixture on tostada shells for a tex-mex dinner.  My kids loved it!  
Can't see the grated carrots, can you? Neither could my kids;)

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Recipe courtesy of Food Network - Rachel Ray 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend (i.e. Montreal Steak Seasoning)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped (I used grated carrots but you can add whatever veggies your kids like)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted, and lightly buttered (I used the Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Hamburger Rolls)

Garnish: sliced ripe tomatoes, pickles 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops. Serve with your favorite sides or sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper, dill pickles and Deviled Potato Salad. Have plenty of napkins on hand!

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