You thought you just dumped a can of Manwich into a pot of browned beef for Sloppy Joes, didn't you? Well, you could. But I highly recommend that you not. This recipe is almost as easy -- o.k. you have to chop a few veggies-- but, because it's packed with veggies you can declare a veggie-free night! Served with some tater tots and ketchup, and root beer floats, your kids will declare you mother of the year (mine did!).
The recipe came from Simply Recipes and I only adjusted the seasoning a little with a bit more sugar and a tad more than a pinch of cayenne (how much is a pinch anyway?). My kids liked the carrots in the mix (I didn't mention the celery and they didn't discover it) -- they said it looked like Bolognese, and I guess it did. If your kids are vegetable detectives, mince the carrots, celery and onions very finely. I used carrots instead of the alternate bell pepper, but I would try bell pepper next time (we liked the carrots, but I think the pepper would be good as well).
1/2 cup minced carrots (can sub chopped bell pepper)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. brown sugar (I used more like 4 T.)
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 t. dried thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
black pepper, to taste
2 T. melted butter
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat. Remove vegetables from the pan to a medium sized bowl, set aside.
Using the same pan (or you can cook the meat at the same time as the vegetables in a separate pan to save time), generously salt the bottom of the pan (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon). Heat the pan on high. Crumble the ground beef into the pan. You will likely need to do this in two batches, otherwise you will crowd the pan and the beef won't easily brown. Do not stir the ground beef, just let it cook until it is well browned on one side. Then flip the pieces over and brown the second side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ground beef from the pan (can add to the set-aside vegetables), salt the pan again and repeat with the rest of the ground beef.
Strain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.
Return the cooked ground beef and vegetables to the pan. Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and brown sugar to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add ground cloves, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees (you'll need it for the tater tots as well as the buns).
Brush cut sides of buns with melted butter. Place cut sides down on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve Sloppy Joe on toasted buns with a side of tater tots and root beer floats (or maybe a chocolate malt!).
Serving suggestion: tater tots, fresh fruit (watermelon slices in the summer, grapes in the winter) and a milkshake or root beer float
Source: modified from Simply Recipes