A while back, one of my nephews requested Sloppy Joes. While my sister was whipping up a batch, she commented about having a bunch of veggies in the fridge that she needed to use up. I suggested that she throw them in with the Sloppy Joe mix. As it turned out, we all ate the Sloppy Joes, and loved them!!
This is really more of a suggestion than an actual recipe. I can't remember all of the veggies she had on hand that night, but I do remember zucchini, summer squash, and carrots. I knew that I was going to be on my own tonight and that there was some ground beef in the fridge that needed to be used or tossed in the freezer, so when I was running some errands earlier and saw a can of Sloppy Joe sauce, I grabbed it.
One of the things I like about this is the potential for getting kids to eat their veggies. We don't have any little ones, but I definitely like the idea of incorporating veggies into a dish like this where they can see them but not really discern them - rather than mashing or otherwise pulverizing them so they don't know they're there. I'm on the team that thinks that hiding veggies may be a way of getting them into your kids, but it doesn't actually teach them to like them so they'll "choose" to eat them on their own. If they know they're eating them in something they like, they'll be more open to eating them other ways. If they don't know they're eating them, they'll be less inclined to try them intentionally. Excuse me while I climb down off my soap box...
I personally despise mushrooms, but that seems like something that would be an obvious addition to a dish like this. Use whatever you have on hand. What I found in the fridge tonight was ...
1 can Sloppy Joe sauce
1 small onion
1/2 red bell pepper
handful of baby carrots
1 T minced garlic with red peppers
I started by bringing the garlic up to heat with a little olive oil, then adding all of the veggies. If you like your carrots very soft, you might want to start with those, then add the others. I like the textural contrast when they still have a bit of a bite to them.
Add the ground beef and cook until browned. If there is still a touch of pink, that's fine. If there is a lot of grease and/or liquid given off by your veggies, go ahead and pour that off, then add the sauce and let it simmer for 4-5".
I was planning to make the standard sandwich out of it, but when I looked in the fridge, I saw that we still had some Baked Macaroni and Cheese that went along with some Meatloaf the other night, so I decided to be bad!
I cut out a chunk of the Mac and Cheese, put it in a ramekin and nuked it for a minute, then spooned the Sloppy Joe mix over the top. Mmmmmm! Hey, if you can do Chili Mac, then Sloppy Joe Mac should be OK too!! ;)
One thing I have to comment on is the sauce. As much as I love DelMonte products, when it comes to Sloppy Joes, I'll stick with Manwich in the future. I found this sauce to smell and taste a lot closer to straight-up BBQ Sauce than Sloppy Joe.