Oh, my gosh!  My family loves sloppy joes!  There’s just something about that sweet, tangy, hearty filling that takes me back to my childhood.

Because I cook so much during the week, I usually look for something easy to make for Sunday lunch.  It has to be simple and fast since we usually don’t get home from church until after noon and everyone is starving.  Usually sometime Saturday evening, Michael will ask what I’m making for lunch on Sunday.  If I hesitate at all, he says, “How about Manwich?”

The man loves Manwich.

Thing is, I don’t always have a can of Manwich in the pantry, so I developed my own recipe for sloppy joes.  My tribe actually likes it better than Manwich – which is a huge compliment!

The best thing is that you probably already have all of these ingredients in your pantry:


For real.  That’s it.  I mean, you add that to a couple of pounds of ground beef with some onions and bell pepper, and you’ve got sloppy joes!

Sloppy Joes

  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard (Yes, the hot dog stuff!)
  • 1 1/2 cups of ketchup
  • 1/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Hamburger or slider buns

Brown the ground beef with onions and bell pepper until meat is done and vegetables are tender.  Drain.

Return to medium heat, add all other ingredients, stir to combine, and heat until thickened.  Taste to see if you need more salt.

Serve on buns.

Well Duh #1:  This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.  I usually make a double batch and freeze one.  You can either freeze it in a disposable foil baking dish covered with plastic wrap and then foil – or you can just spoon it into a big zippered bag, squeeze out all the air, seal, and freeze.  I prefer the bag because I can just throw it in a sinkful hot water to thaw it and then finish heating it by pouring it into a pot or skillet and heating it on the stovetop.

Well Duh #2:  If your family likes individual leftovers, you can use an ice cream scoop and place scoops of the meat mixture onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Put the cookie sheet in the freezer and freeze until solid.  Then place the frozen scoops in a big zippered bag.  When somebody wants one, they can just pop a scoop into a bowl and microwave it until it’s hot.  Then it goes onto a bun or over nachos or however they want to eat it.

Well Duh #3:  Add a little water to the meat when you’re browning it and the meat will separate instead of clumping together.  For this much meat, I used about a half a cup of water.

Well Duh #4:  We use this mixture for more than just sandwiches.  It’s great on nachos.  Just spoon it over warm chips and cheese.  It’s also great as a hot pocket.  I call these not-so-sloppy joes.  Just roll out big biscuits (like Grands) into flat circles, place a couple of spoonfuls of the mixture on the circle, fold over and pinch the edges shut (or crimp with a fork).  Bake at 350 degrees until biscuits are golden – 10-15 minutes.

Well Duh #5:  These are great for parties!  You can use slider buns for this, but be sure you make PLENTY!  They go fast – especially if teenage boys are involved!

This does not take any more time than using a can of Manwich.  But you can control the flavor.  Don’t like yours as sweet?  Use less sugar.  Want a little spice?  Add sliced jalapeno or red pepper flakes.  Don’t forget, you can use any kind of ground meat that you like, too.  Turkey, chicken, venison.  It’s all good!

A yummy meal that takes 15 minutes or less?  I’ll take it!