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Sloppy Joes

Ever since I was a child I remember my mom making Sloppy Joe sandwiches, and I have vivid memories of having them in high school. They always came with kernel corn on the side, so now when I make them I have to have kernel corn on the side. I would always make the Sloppy Joe’s from the McCormick spice mix in the envelope, add ground beef, tomato paste, water and call it a day. As much as I do like them that way in a pinch, I always wanted to make them from scratch. After a few failed attempts to get the ultimate Sloppy Joe, I think I have finally come to the perfect balance.

In the past the flavors would not end up right, and to me, they were just too nauseating to eat a whole sandwich. I like peppers and onions, and little chunks of tomato in Sloppy Joes. Not just sauce and ground beef.

Well that all changed today. I was all set to try another recipe, and was noticing that the recipe used all tomato paste.  After looking through many recipes, I decided to incorporate what I found in some of the recipes into my own concoction.

At first, I wasn’t too overjoyed on the finished product. Then I let the mixture set in the refrigerator while I went out to do an errand. When I returned, I heated a little up, and tasted it, and it was delicious. The only thing I would adjust, is cut down the brown sugar. I had forgotten when you add sugar to a tomato based sauce its gets sweeter as it cooks, and I didn’t care for it as sweet. So, I would adjust the brown sugar from 2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp, and the mixture should be just right.

I served them on a roll that sized a little bigger than a slider, but smaller than a regular hamburger roll.

Sloppy Joes
Recipe Type: Sandwiches
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ground beef in a delicious balanced tomato sauce with peppers, onions and tiny chunks of tomatoes.
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 – 16 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or more depending how spicy you like it)
  1. In a large skillet, cook onion and peppers over medium heat until soft and onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for approx 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly.
  2. Add tomato sauce, paste, tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar and chili powder to ground beef mixture. Stir thoroughly. Cook on low heat for approx. 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, and put mixture into rolls, and serve.


Beef/ Cookouts/ Sandwiches

The ULTIMATE Burger!

I was watching Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen this weekend, and he was making the “Deen” burger. It was basically a burger with chopped onion added to the ground beef., along with some other fixins. I thought I would try adding the onion to my burgers the next time I made burgers. I gotta tell you, I’m sure glad I did!

First, you start off with some really good 80/20 ground beef from your local butcher. I took it two steps further, and added some sauteed green bell pepper, and a slice of Cabot’s Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese! Now that’s what I call the ULTIMATE burger. It was delicious!

The ULTIMATE Burger!
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 3
Good ground beef, onion, sauteed green bell peppers, extra sharp cheddar cheese…need I say more?
  • 1 lb really good 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  • 3 slices Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Heat skillet on medium high. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Rinse, clean, and slice green bell pepper. Add to skillet and cook on medium high heat, until soft and cooked, stirring occasionally (approx 15 min).
  2. Heat grille, or grille pan. With about 1/3 lb of ground beef (or whatever size you choose), flatten and add some chopped onion. Without overworking, form in to a burger. Cook until desired doneness. Shortly before burgers are cooked, add cheddar cheese.
  3. Place burgers on buns, topping with sauteed green peppers.

Make sure to chop the onion real fine if you want them to cook inside the burger. Otherwise they’ll have a little crunch, but that’s OK too, in my opinion.


Cookouts/ Main Dishes/ Pork/ Sandwiches

Grilled Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions

At our Memorial Day cookout (OK, Fourth of July and Labor Day, too), among other things, we always have sweet grilled Italian sweet sausage subs with peppers and onions on fresh Tripoli Bakery Italian rolls. There is nothing like them. These are the perfect thing to make ahead (as I do), so you can enjoy your cookout and your guests.

I love DiLuigi sausages. I’ve tried a lot of sausage most of which is too fatty, salty and down right tasteless. No I know sausage is not the healthiest thing to eat. DiLuigi sausages have the right amount of seasonings, are not overly fatty, and are absolutely delicious. I first tried them at my favorite specialty market, Wilson Farms. Them I noticed them in BJ’s in a much larger container. I freeze some for future use, or as with this weekend, I used the whole container!

Grilled Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 8
Sausages with peppers & onions…need I say more?
  • sweet Italian sausage
  • green bell peppers
  • yellow onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • celery seed
  1. Grill sausages on gas or charcoal grill until done.
  2. Remove core and seeds from green peppers and slice in to good sized slices. Peel and slice onions.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add peppers, onions, garlic, salt, pepper and celery seed.
  4. Cook on medium-medium high until peppers and onions have softened.
  5. If making ahead, if desired, slice sausages down the middle and put in a aluminum foil baking pan. Put the peppers and onion mixture on top. Put foil on and refrigerate until needed. Heat in a preheated oven ot on grille until hot.


Poultry/ Sandwiches

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

To get a really flavorful chicken for chicken salad, I cook it just as I would a chicken soup. If you make more chicken than you need for chicken salad, the added bonus is you can make a small soup from the broth the chicken cooked in. Just like I do with potato salad, I cut the mayonnaise with sour cream in a ratio of 3 parts mayo, and one part sour cream.  You can use any amount of chicken depending how much you need. There really is no cut and dry “recipe”,  just use your best judgement on amounts.

Chicken Salad

Cooking chicken:
2 whole chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
2 carrots, (if making soup, peel and slice; if not, just cut in half)
2 celery stalks (if making soup, slice; if not, cut in half)
1/2 white onion (if making soup, chopped; if not, throw in whole piece)
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
2 – 14.5 oz cans low sodium chicken broth (or enough to cover chicken)

Chicken Salad:
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sour cream
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp fresh chopped or dried parsley

Rinse chicken. Bring chicken, chicken broth, along with the celery, onion, carrot, parsley, salt & pepper to a boil. Lower heat to medium, cover and cook 15 minutes. Shut off heat and let cool to room temperature.

Cut chicken in to bite sized pieces. Add chopped celery, celery seed, parsley, mayo & sour cream, and salt & pepper to taste.

If making soup from remaining stock, shred chicken and put back into stock. Add some small cooked pasta if desired.

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad