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Friday, September 30, 2011

Sloppy Joes ~ not your kiddie version

Sloppy Joes

when i was a kid living with the gparents, i bought my lunch. the public school system provided a decent lunch, i thought. granted, at home fare was vietnamese food, so american food was a treat. grandma being the math dictator that she was, she would leave my lunch money in a brown bag and the onus was on me to take the proper amount of change out every morning, bringing home any change in the afternoon and whatever was left for the last day of the week should be enough. this is called Lessons in Budgeting. this was a lesson i did not take to. what ever nickels & dimes were left over i would spend after school at the ice cream truck, buying candy. there were some Fridays i didn't have lunch, unless i took whatever left over lunch the school had, which i never did. budget jackass i was, hand out taker i was not.

sloppy joes were a treat. (i was also pretty partial to the tuna melt. cheap food was my jam back in the day.) they still are a treat. i don't do the manwich thing anymore, dw doesn't like canned stuff (something about blah blahs in the cans) so i attempted the grown up version this week before a highly anticipated matt nathanson concert. the flavor wasn't what i remembered from childhood -- it was much spicier -- not messy in the least but very enjoyable. plus, extremely quick to put together.

Not So Sloppy Joes

1 lb organic, grass fed ground beef
1 medium red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 6oz can of tomato paste
generous tsp cumin
generous tsp chili powder (i used super spicy)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt/pepper to taste
dash of sugar to balance the tart of the paste

in a large pan, heat up a bit of oil. saute the veggies until fragrant. add in the ground beef, breaking up the pieces, brown thru. throw in the rest of the ingredients. i also added about a can's worth of water to loosen the mixture up a bit. when thick to desired consistency, serve on toasted buns.


  1. Cinnamon in sloppy joes? Brilliant!

  2. I love that cinnamon + cumin + chili powder spice mix & use it in pasta sauces all the time. I bet this is awesome -- I've never had a sloppy joe! Might have to try with crumbled tempeh instead of beef, but I bet this will be right tasty.

    (PS: School lunch still haunts my dreams-slash-nightmares sometimes. I was always super partial to a tuna-salad sandwich with shredded lettuce and gummy slices of American cheese.)

  3. This is so different than my mom's recipe which uses ketchup, chili sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cloves. (Along with onion, s/p, and ground meat). Might sound gross, but it's delicious! My husband doesn't like the cloves though and with all the ketchup and chili sauce, it's pretty unhealthy. I think I'll have to try your recipe and see what we both think. :)

  4. love the spices you added to the sloppy joes! i often find myself adding that to typically "Western" things that call for mince though! love that kick!

  5. michelle - it really is!

    meister - i love the combo too, it's so earthy and brings such flavor to any sauce. let me know how it is with tempeh!

    stacy A - it doesn't sound gross at all, in fact it sounds fantastic.

    shu han - you're right, that kick in flavor just enhances everything!

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