Simple, sloppy, delicious dinner

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Sloppy Joes — ground meat in tomato sauce served over Cuban bread — have been an American favorite for over half a century. There are many claims to the origins of Sloppy Joes.

One is from the H.J. Heinz Co., which, of course, made theirs with ketchup; another is a cafe in Iowa whose chef, Joe, created a “loose meat sandwich” in 1930.

My favorite story is that Sloppy Joe’s Restaurant in Key West, Florida, took the Cuban stewed ground meat dish, picadillo, which is traditionally served with rice or potatoes, served it over 2 halves of Cuban bread and called it a sloppy Joe. Whichever tale you choose to tell, this saucy meat sandwich makes a delicious, easy-to-make-and-enjoy dinner.

Traditionally, it’s served over thick Cuban bread. For this recipe I serve it over a hamburger bun. Or you can serve it over any type of hearty sliced bread.

Serve the sloppy Joes with a green salad. I’ve given a short recipe here to help you determine the amounts and calories.

Helpful Hints:

— To speed up preparation time, look for sliced or diced onion and green bell pepper in the produce section of the market.

— You can find minced garlic in the produce section of the market.

— This recipe keeps well and can be frozen. Make extra for another quick meal.

— I recommend eating this sandwich with a knife and fork.

Countdown:

— Assemble the ingredients.

— Make the salad.

— Make sloppy Joes.

Shopping List:

To buy: 3/4 pound 95% lean ground beef, 1 green bell pepper, 1 container minced garlic, 1 can reduced-sodium tomato sauce (16 ounces needed), 1 bottle Worcestershire sauce, 1 bottle balsamic vinegar, 1 package whole wheat burger rolls, 1 can vegetable oil spray, 1 package washed, ready-to-eat salad, 2 tomatoes and 1 bottle reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing.

Staples: canola oil, onion, salt and black peppercorns.

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One-Pot Sloppy Joe. (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)

ONE-POT SLOPPY JOE

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup green bell pepper cubes (about 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 3/4 pound 95% lean ground beef
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole wheat burger rolls
  • Vegetable oil spray

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and green bell pepper. Continue to saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and break it up into small pieces with the edge of a large spoon and stir to brown the meat. Add the tomato sauce and mix well. Add the Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Lower the heat to medium and cook, gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. The meat should be cooked through, and flavors blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spray the cut side of the rolls with the vegetable oil spray and toast in a toaster oven or under a broiler for a minute to brown. Divide the mixture in half and spoon the sloppy Joe mixture on the rolls.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 599 calories (27% from fat), 18.1 g fat (4.8 g saturated, 8.1 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 45.9 g protein, 62.8 g carbohydrates, 10.6 g fiber, 420 mg sodium.

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LETTUCE AND TOMATO SALAD

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

  • 4 cups washed, ready-to-eat salad
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar salad

Divide the lettuce and tomatoes between two dinner plates and drizzle the dressing on top.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 59 calories (24% from fat), 1.6 g fat (0.2 g saturated, 0.4 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 2.8 g protein, 10.8 g carbohydrates, 4.2 g fiber, 22 mg sodium.

(Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook." Listen to Linda on www.WDNA.org and all major podcast sites. Email her at Linda@DinnerInMinutes.com.)

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