Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crock-Pot Sloppy Joe's

Above is a photo I snapped of the finish product, after we had already eaten it down quite a bit (two sandwiches per person if I remember correctly!). I can't remember the last time I made homemade sloppy joes, but I do know it will be a summer staple now. And, as usual, there is NO GOING BACK to store-bought cans of sloppy joe stuff. blech.
If you aren't completely in love with your Crock-Pot (aka - slow cooker) yet, you're really missing out on a wonderful and lifelong relationship opportunity! I made this dish up on March 7th. Even though we had snow on the 2nd, by the 7th the temperatures were up in the upper 70's here and so that Saturday we were busy bees out in the yard. Cooking dinner wasn't high on my list. Viola - my Crock-Pot to the rescue!!
This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook: Crock-Pot ~ Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes. It was given to me as a gift and is definitely one of my staples now!

Suzie's Sloppy Joes

*3 pounds 95% lean ground beef (I used 1 lb. ground beef, 1 lb. sausage, and 1 lb. ground deer meat - all pasture raised - wonderful results!!)*1 cup chopped onion
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1 1/4 cups ketchup (I used 1/4 cup organic store-bought ketchup, then switched to some homemade ketchup for the remainder cup)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (I omitted this only because I was out)
*1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
*1/4 cup dark brown sugar
*3 tablespoons prepared mustard
*3 tablespoons vinegar (I left this out only because the homemade ketchup I used has a lot of vinegar in it already)*2 teaspoons chili powder

~Cook and stir the meat (really, using the blend was awesome!), onion, and garlic in a large, nonstick skillet (I used my good ole cast-iron skillet) over medium-high heat until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat if needed -- since I was using pasture-raised organic meat there is never much fat to drain off, so I skipped this step (not to mention, the extra fat melded the flavors of the 3 meats like a champ). I also added several tablespoons of ketchup & a couple of the Worcestershire sauce directly to the meat, onion, and garlic mixture while it cooked.
Combine ketchup, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, vinegar and chili powder in Crock-Pot slow cooker. Stir in meat mixture. Cover; cook on LOW 6-8 hours. To serve, spoon mixture onto hamburger buns. ~~ Freeze leftovers for later!! YUMMY!!

For a side, I cooked up some fresh green beans, as you can clearly see. We did add some cheese to the boys' sloppy joes, but we are a cheese-addicted family!! :) This was definitely a nice dinner to come in to after working out in the yard all day. The best part was the kitchen wasn't all heated up from cooking too! YAY!

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