An Everyday, Ordinary Dish – Reinvented

Real Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Ever since I got my new Williams-Sonoma cookbook, “Comfort Food”
for Christmas, I decided that Winter is a perfect time for staying in and
cooking and pursuing some comfort amidst the freezing and dismal
weather outside. So I’ve decided to cook my way through the book over
the next few months, and found a recipe for Sloppy Joes – a dish I haven’t
had in a looongg time. In fact, I think I’ve only tried them a handful of times
– growing up when my Mom wanted to make a quick dinner but something
tasty and savory.

Cookbook Recipe

Sloppy Joes have definitely gotten a bad rap, but this version ups the ante and
puts them back on the map for a delicious quick dish you can make on a weeknight
that’s hearty and spicy and filling. The ingredients are simple and basic: ground
beef, onions, peppers, celery and the sauce is a spicy-sweet tomato sauce that is
tangy and savory and just too good!


Since I wasn’t able to find bottled chili sauce, I made my own by using 3 parts ketchup
to 1 part Chili-Garlic sauce and a small amount of Sriracha sauce (you can find both of
these in an Asian supermarket). I also added a dash of onion salt and a dash of Paula
Deen’s House seasoning
and a dash of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to add a little
extra spice and layer of flavors. If you want to make them a bit spicier, throw in a small
amount of chopped green chiles. Also, if you’re using frozen meat and defrosting it, make
sure it’s completely defrosted before cooking, or you’ll need to omit the ¼ c. of water that
the recipe calls for, otherwise the mixture will become too watery.

The key to making a delicious Sloppy Joe is to have a perfect balance between tangy, spicy
and sweet – not too tomatoey and not too sweet like a BBQ sauce. Also, the flavors meld
together as time goes on, so they actually taste better the next day! They are easy to make
and you’ll have leftovers for a few days if you’re eating for one or two. Serve these guys on
toasted buns with some melted cheese and a side of chips or fries. Mmmm-good!


Canola Oil, 1 tbsp
Yellow Onions, 1, diced
Celery, 1 stalk, diced
Green bell pepper, 1, finely diced
Ground Beef, 1.5 lbs
Tomato Sauce, 1 c
Ketchup-style chili sauce, ½ c.
Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tbsp
Dijon Mustard, 1 tbsp
Cider Vinegar, 1 tbsp
Light Brown Sugar, 1 tbsp firmly packed
Kosher Salt, 1 tsp
Fresh ground pepper, ¼ tsp
Sesame-seed or Whole Wheat Sandwich buns, 6 split, toasted


onions and peppers

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell
pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.

sauteed ingredients in sauce

Add the beef and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring and breaking up
the beef with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

cooking flavors together

Stir in ¼ c. water, the tomato sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar,
sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer,
stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors.

Sloppy Joes

Toast the buns. Place the bottom halves of the buns, cut side up, on warmed individual plates
and top with the beef mixture, dividing it equally. Cover with the bun tops and serve right away.

Makes 6 sandwiches


A Comfort Food for the Fall Season

Jalapeno-Cheddar Meatloaf with French Market Tomato Gravy

I created this dish last year when it was a cold and rainy Sunday evening last November.

It was an attempt to warm my bones and fill my belly with something comforting and delicious, that reminded me of home. I took a few recipes and adapted them into my own mish mosh recipe, and it turned out absolutely delicious – with just the right amount of spice in the meatloaf and creamy tomatoey gravy to satisfy, along with some buttery mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini in garlic and olive oil on the side. A glass of red wine to top it off and voila! I was as snug as a bug in a rug on that cold rainy November night. Hope you enjoy…

Jalapeno-Cheddar Meatloaf

Serves 4

1 lb Ground Sirloin (90% lean)
1/2 c. Panko Breadcrumbs
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 zucchini, chopped fine
1 tbsp garlic, chopped fine
1 jalapeno, chopped fine (6-8 slices)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. whole milk
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbs ketchup
1/2 tbs mustard powder
1/2 tbs cayenne pepper
1 tbs Dales Steak Sauce (soy sauce/garlic marinade)
Dash of spicy Montreal Steak seasoning
Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the chopped onion, garlic and
zucchini in olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together, sprinkle spicy
Montreal seasoning on top, and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees
uncovered. Let sit for 5-10 mins before serving.

Serve with Tomato Gravy (recipe below) and sauteed zucchini
and garlic in olive oil and mashed potatoes.

French Market Tomato Gravy

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 c. beef broth
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dash of spicy Montreal Steak seasoning

Melt butter in small saucepan; whisk in flour and cook, whisking
constantly for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth and tomato sauce;
reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Whisk in salt and pepper and
dash of steak seasoning.


Recipe adapted from Southern Living.


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