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sloppy joes anyone?

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My husband has been feeling nostalgic and wants to serve our son a sloppy joe. His mom always made them from scratch and he has fond menories of eating them as a child. Sloppy joes and veal parmesan were his first choice requests for birthday dinners.

Now, this was not something that was served in my home as kid. I didn't eat one until boarding school and never ate one again. I assume it came from can it was that bad. A quick poll around the office was "just use manwich". I would prefer not to go the can route because if its like canned soups it will have too much sodium and other crap.

So does anyone have a good recipe, preferably quick one too being that I am a WOHM?? TIA!!

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  1. I was always tempted to ask this same question. I used to make Sloppy Joes alot when I was first married as it was one of my family's favorites, but not so much to my husband's liking (although he did eat it). Also English Muffin pizzas, which I keep saying I have to do again. Sloppy Joes were chop meat, tomato soup, lots of hot sauce, I think onions and celery...there has to be more. Also similar was Hunters Stew, we used to make it at Girl Scout Camp in our "mess kits", it was chop meat, a can of Campbells Veg Veg soup, can of Campbells Tomato Soup and who knows what else. I'm waiting for someone with a better memory than mine to come up with the complete recipe(s). If not, I will research further. (ie, ask Mom if she remembers)

    2 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Here's my recipe that usually gets rave reviews.

      2 pounds of ground beef
      1 can Campbell's Cream of Onion Soup
      1 small can of tomato sauce
      Worcestershire Sauce to taste
      Sprinkle of meat seasoning.

      Brown and scatter beef, sprinkle worchestershire sauce on meat, add meat seasoning to taste, stir, increase heat and add onion soup and tomato sauce. If you like, add sliced bell pepper or additional spices.

      The secret is to cook it uncovered over low heat for about 25 minutes after all ingredients are combined. Keep the heat to where the sloppy joes have just a small bubble of a boil, stir frequently.

      If you're making a smaller portion, such as one pound, use half the amount of onion soup and tomato paste. Combine unused portion (pour tomato sauce into the soup can), cover and freeze and you'll have it for the next pound of sloppies you want to make.

      1. re: Marco

        That's it, thanks! I used to use a can of Campbells Tomato Soup, a small can of tomato sauce, worcestshire and tabasco. I didn't realize there were so many variations of this recipe!

    2. i like the recipe rachel ray has on foodtv.com i have used balsamic vinegear instead of red wine because that's what i had and just cut back on the brown sugar. i like it ok, sloppy joes aren't my favorite. but my husband loves them. i tried to link it, but their site keeps crashing.

      1. shortcut sloppy joes from campbell's classic recipe's:

        1lb ground beef
        1 can (11 1/8oz) campbell's condensed italian tomato soup
        1/4 cup water
        2tsp worcestershire sauce
        1/8tsp pepper
        6 rolls, split and toasted

        in medium skillet over med-hi heat cook beef until browned, stirring to separate meat. pour off fat. add soup, water, worcestershire, and pepper. reduce heat to low and heat through. divide meat mixture among rolls.

        i haven't made this recipe myself, but it seems pretty straightforward and simple and hopefully the sloppy joes will come out ok.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lotsanivanh

          I don't remember water, for some reason I keep thinking some ketchup instead? Worcestshire sounds right, and tabasco instead of/ or in additon to black pepper. And I'm pretty sure diced onion and celery sauteed with the meat first.

          1. re: coll

            like i said, never made this recipe before, but i think because this particular recipe calls for condensed tomato soup there is probably a need for some water.

        2. The Joy of Cooking has a great recipe. Iirc, chopped bell peppers are involved, also chopped onion, some ketchup, oh man it is good.

          When I serve it (and it has been too long) I like to "toast" the buns on a skillet in a little butter. I use cheapo fluffy white "potato" sandwich buns from the grocery store. The sandwich bun is smaller than a hamburger bun, and I find it much more delightful to have two smaller sandwiches than one big Sloppy Joe.

          Bonus, the JoC reminds us that in some parts of the US it is called "loosemeat." Rolls off of the tongue nicely, doesn't it?

          1 Reply
          1. re: john clark

            **Big head slap!**

            I never thought about checking my Joy!! I was hoping to find some tried and true recipes but looks like almost every ones recipe calls for canned soup. Might as well use Manwich! I checked labels on line last night and there is less sodium and other crap in that stuff than in a can of condensed tomato soup. Go figure. I bought burger, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic last night. I will look at the Joy when I get home and see if can whip something up tonight and will report back.

          2. a
            Amuse Bouches

            Probably not exactly what your husband remembers from childhood, but epicurious has a great recipe for "Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joes" that are regularly featured at dinner in my house. Diced green chiles, bell peppers, ketchup, ale, worcestershire sauce -- I serve on whole wheat buns with some shredded cabbage.

            1. Staff Meals from Chanterelle has a good recipe:

              1 Tbsp Veg Oil
              1 Sm. Onion in 1/2" dice
              2lb lean ground beef
              2 c Ketchup (use a little less)
              1/2 tsp chili powder
              1/2 tsp granulated garlic
              1/8 tsp hot red pepper flakes
              Kosher Salt, to taste
              Red wine vinegar to taste
              Hamburger buns, toasted

              Saute onion in oil til softened. Add meat and cook til almost done. Pour off fat. Add the next five ingredients and cook 20-30 minutes. If it gets too dry you can add more ketchup, or water. Stir in a splash of vinegar and spoon over buns.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mirage

                Have your tried this yourself?? Do you think you could use tomato paste instead ketchup and then just sweeten to taste?

                1. re: foodiex2

                  Yes, I have made, and liked, this. Ketchup has a different flavor than tomato paste, but you could, of course, use whatever you want! It would just be different.

              2. The latest Cooks Country by Cooks Illustrated has a good looking recipe. I can't recommend that magazine enough.

                1. We just had them last night using a recipe from a recent Everyday Food (Martha Stewart) magazine. They were quite good and an easy weeknight meal. I'll paraphrase:

                  Brown 1 1/4 lb. ground beef, (I drained fat but recipe didn't call for that), season w/ 1 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper, stir in diced onion and 2 minced garlic cloves and cook about 5 minutes, add 14.5 can pureed tomatoes, 2 T light brown sugar, 1 T cider vinegar, 1 T tomato paste, 1 t Worcestershire sauce and 1 1/2 c water. Cook on medium low heat about 20 minutes or until thick. The recipe calls for adding in 1 T chopped pickled jalapeno chiles and 1 T chopped cilantro and to top w/ avocado slices but I just stuck w/ the basic recipe.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: twinmommy

                    This sounds great and no canned soups or sugar laden ketchup!! I will check out Joy of Cooking and ross referance this to make tonight. Thank you!

                    1. re: twinmommy

                      here's a link to the everyday food recipe. i have this issue but havent tried them yet. it was a section on food for adults and food for kids. let us know how they turn out. wasalam!

                      1. re: furryabdul

                        whoops! forgot to post the link! sorry bout that! :(

                        Link: http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jht...

                    2. we don't use the manwich in a can, but our own ground beef and the sloppy joe's seasoning packet from the grocery store and follow the recipe on the back. have no idea what's in the seasoning, but it works for my family. really tastes like classic sloppy joes and very easy.

                      1. I have an authentic Midwestern recipe that's been in my family for decades. It's the only recipe I would consider making using a can of condensed soup, but these are mighty delicious:

                        Midwestern Sloppy Joes, circa 1965

                        This is what your babysitter reheated for you once upon a time. Now, make it yourself! Please don’t recoil in horror when you encounter the can of condensed Chicken Gumbo soup among the ingredients listed here. Thousands of . . . regional . . . cookbooks have been published with condensed soup as a leading ingredient. I’ve tried making Sloppy Joes other ways, and nothing comes close to the body and straight-ahead flavor of this concoction. Besides, the condensed soup provides precisely the right sloppiness to the matters at hand. This is an authentic recipe from Ohio, where Sloppy Joes have flourished for decades. The recipe evolved from one that is now literally 100 years old, emanating from the kitchen of one Leila Harsch, who, among other things, graduated from Wellesley College in 1898. (Obviously, Leila didn’t have access to condensed Chicken Gumbo soup.) It is a most forgiving recipe—a ten-year-old could make these. And did. In fact, this is a pretty good “teaching’’ recipe.

                        2/3 cup chopped yellow onion
                        2 tablespoons unsalted butter
                        a pinch of salt—no more if you’re simmering for over an hour
                        1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                        1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                        1 1/4 pounds ground chuck
                        1 can condensed Chicken Gumbo soup (Campbell’s is fine)
                        1/4 cup water (used to rinse out the soup can)
                        3 tablespoons ketchup
                        3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

                        Over medium heat, cook the onion in the butter until just tan around the edges. Stir in salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Add beef and brown, stirring and breaking up the chunks with a suitable wooden implement. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly, partially covered, for an hour or more. The longer it cooks, the more tender the beef will get, as in a good Bolognese sauce. Cook at least until the fat separates from the meat.

                        Serve spooned into very soft hamburger buns. This makes enough for three or four hungry people.