Sloppy…Who?

Mr. Food It Yourself wanted sloppy Joe sandwiches for dinner. I was okay with that. However, I have issues with the canned and powdered preparations available from the grocery store. Every can of sauce I could find had high fructose corn syrup, which does not agree with Mr. Food It Yourself’s digestive system. The powdered versions are really salty and full of unpronounceable things.

Not to worry- we have DIYet skills. There are tons and (metric) tonnes of variations on the sloppy Joe available on the internet. Just three of the zillion I found on line:

If you’re good at seeing patterns, you’ve already realized that as long as you have some basic condiments sitting around you never need to rely on a prepared preparation again. All you need are:

  • Ground beef (or turkey, chicken, pork, game, soy-meat-substitute, or whatever you like for a protean)
  • Something tomato based, onions, and maybe garlic
  • A little something sharp
  • A little heat
  • A little sweetness
  • Rolls (regular bread will work if that’s what you’ve got)

If you have those things in your kitchen then you can have a childhood favorite whenever you darn well want! Moreover, you can modify the combination to create the sloppy Joe of your dreams. Just to prove this point, I didn’t strictly follow any of these recipes but used them as a jumping-off point to make a sloppy Something based on what I had on hand and what I like. You can do that you know. Recipes aren’t the boss of you.

IMG_0062I sweated out one diced medium onion and 3 big cloves of minced garlic then added ground beef. I didn’t add any with celery or carrots in the mix. While the beef cooked, I put the sauce together.I used an entire pint jar (that is 2 cups) of home-made ketchup for my tomato element. Ketchup is already a little sweet, so there was no need to add extra sugar. I had multiple options for mustard.

Mr. Food It Yourself really likes mustard, which is part of the reason we always have at least a couple versions in he house.

Mr. Food It Yourself really likes mustard, which is part of the reason we always have at least a couple versions in he house.

Although I usually have the seeds available for grinding, I am lazy, so I squeezed the yellow bottle like most of us have. I used about ¼ cup total. I also added a dash of cayenne pepper for heat and a dash of allspice for depth. (Seriously, add allspice to any beef dish, it makes a huge difference!) I realized that I mixed up too much sauce, so I added half to the pan and put the rest in the refrigerator for future experimentation.

Here is our sandwich filling evaporating its extra water.

It's not as red as most sloppy Joe mixes. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s not as red as most sloppy Joe mixes. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

My ketchup is a little thinner than the commercially made stuff. No need to add starchy stuff; just be patient and stir frequently until the slop is at a controllable level.

Hooray! It’s dinner time! And we get to eat the whole things with our fingers.

IMG_0068

Found a place for the carrots and celery after all.

But how did it taste? Next time, I will use less mustard. It overpowered the tomato flavor that typically defines sloppy Joe. It was quite yummy, though. Mr. Food It Yourself even went back for sloppy Seconds! It wasn’t exactly what we expected, but we created something new and delicious. I call it a win.

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