Sloppy Joes are a delicious mess

March 2023 came in like a lion, so it should end peacefully like a lamb. Yes, the snow is very much appreciated, but did it have to come all at once?
We, like many others, just do not have any clue as to where to put the shoveled snow any longer.
The piles have become so high, but with the sun shining down the past couple of days, they are melting and compacting downward. We can actually see outside our kitchen window again!
With joints aching, I bet, like myself, prepping to cook meals was something not looked forward to. So, the go-to item that makes it less painful is that wonderful invention, the crock pot. All ingredients go inside, you just set the temperature, pop on the lid, and it’s all ready to eat in a certain number of hours.
Now it’s March, so I decided to look up what foods happen to have a silly national day devoted to them. As it turns out, Sloppy Joe day is March 18th. Perfect!
The origin of the original Sloppy Joe recipe is very much in debate. Being very popular will do that. One theory of the origin is that in 1917 Havana, Cuba, bar owner José “Sloppy Joe” Abeal y Otero put together a sandwich of ground beef mixed with stewed tomatoes.
In 1937 Ernest Hemingway (yes, I am one of those readers who enjoys his writings) convinced Joe Russell, a bar owner in Key West, Florida, to rename his Silver Slipper bar Sloppy Joes for serving a similar sandwich.
However, the Heinz company said the “loose meat sandwich” was invented by a cook, named Joe and sold in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930s. And yes, there are a few more stories with origin dates from the 1930s to 1950s.
Whatever the truth, this sandwich is easy to make, messy to eat, and a favorite in the majority of households throughout the United States. On “Big Bang Theory, it happened to be one of Sheldon Cooper’s favorite meals, along with a side of fries. Alright, he ate it using a knife and fork. We all know it’s a messy sandwich to deal with but he still loved eating it!
Sloppy Joes can be made in one pan on the stove or in the crock pot. While the basic ingredients are meat, tomatoes, and a sauce, other veggies can be added to boost up the nutritional value, and it’s fun to eat!
It can be stretched to feed a large family, especially with the addition of a side salad or macaroni and cheese. I made a crock pot of it during one of many snow storms and Roy couldn’t wait to dive in. Umm, to eating the Sloppy Joes that is, not into the crock pot itself. Just thought I should maybe clarify that.
By the way, did you know that Sloppy Joes make great nachos? A couple of days later we were in the mood for nachos but out of ground beef which I had used up for the Sloppy Joes. “Hold on,” I thought. “Sloppy Joes have ground beef, tomatoes, and chile peppers. All I really need to make nachos is to add beans, mix, and pour over the tortilla chips.”
There’s one big difference though. Instead of Mexican seasoning there was barbecue sauce and it was delicious! The barbecue sauce was zesty and smoky, but the beans, shredded Mexican mix cheese, and sour cream gave the illusion of chili.
Sloppy Joes
Ingredients: 3 lbs. lean ground beef, 1 small onion, diced, ¼ cup each of diced green bell and red bell peppers, 1 Tbsp. non-salt seasoning mix, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained, 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained, 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste, 4 cups barbeque sauce (KC Masterpiece, Bullseye, Sweet Baby Ray’s are the best choices), 12 sandwich buns
In a large skillet, high heat, brown the ground beef. When partially browned add diced onion, bell peppers, seasoning mix and garlic; mix well and fully brown meat; drain off the excess oil. Place in a 4-qt crock pot; add in remaining ingredients (except the sandwich buns) and stir well.
Put on the lid, set temperature, and try to be patient while it cooks.
Low heat – cooks in 4-5 hours. High heat – cooks in 2-3 hours.
Makes 12 servings.

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