Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to make Sloppy Joes from scratch -- in the crock pot

Ever since my boys were little they have always loves Sloppy Joes. I grew up on canned Manwich and never, ever liked the taste of it. For some reason, it always tasted like the can to me.
Make sloppy Joes -- in the crock pot!

Many, many years ago when I was first married my husband and I were AOL subscribers and I tumbled over a lovely message board named "What's For Dinner, Mom?" I visited daily to find out what everyone was cooking, and over time made lots and lots of friends, and found lots and lots of great recipes! One day I discovered a recipe for Crockpot Sloppy Joes, tried it and found I loved them! And the best seal of approval of all? My boys loved them! They still ask for these all the time, and they're so easy to make that I'm happy to oblige!

I like to use a very lean ground beef for this recipe, usually 85% or 90% lean but you need to use what you have and what you can afford, so 80% will work just fine. Use ground chicken or ground turkey if that's hat you have. For the vegetarians out there -- you can even use re-hydrated texturized vegetable protein or substitute 3 to 4 cans of drained and rinsed beans. I like to mix pink kidney beans and black beans, and throw in a pinch or two of chili powder for extra flavor. Don't be afraid to experiment. The best part of this recipe is that the crock pot does all the work and you get all the raves!

If you don't have the bouillon or the Worcetershire sauce, don't panic.These ingredients are NOT absolutely necessary to this recipe! If you have them, great, use them. If not, leave them out. Yes, it changes the flavor a little bit, but not all that much. Add a little bit more salt, a little more garlic, etc. to get it to taste the way you want it to taste!

Crock pot Sloppy Joes
1-1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. granulated beef bouillon or 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed in place of this (you may need to adjust a bit to get the right taste).
2 pounds lean ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 to 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green or red bell pepper, chopped
Brown ground meat with onions and green peppers. Drain off fat and pour into crock pot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over meat mixture.
Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours. Serve on rolls. Yield: about 4 to 6 servings
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
This fits nicely in a 4 quart crock pot. I highly recommend doubling this recipe if you have a larger crock pot. The extra freezes nicely.

Also, if you want this a little saucier, use a little more ketchup and mustard. If you like your sloppy joes on the sweet side, make sure to use more ketchup than mustard. If you like them a little more tart, use a little extra mustard. Not more mustard than ketchup, just a little more mustard. A teaspoon or two of dry mustard powder will give the recipe a little kick without making it too soupy. This tastes much better than canned Manwich.

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