sloppy joes – take them to the next level

by Michelle

Sloppy Joes were a weeknight staple when I was growing up. A pound of regular ground beef, a can of tomato paste, a package of mysterious seasoning, a cup of water and we called it dinner. The are several origin theories of the Sloppy Joe. My favourite is that the sandwich was created in the United States during the 1930s. During the Great Depression, food was scarce, and people needed to be creative with the ingredients they had on hand. Some say that a cook in a Key West, Florida café created the Sloppy Joe sandwich by combining ground beef with tomato sauce, onion, and spices, then serving it on a bun.

We aren’t calling today’s world a Depression but trying to find inexpensive or, at least reasonable, dinner ideas is a real challenge. With rising food costs, it’s difficult to be economical without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

Sloppy Joes are a classic budget-friendly comfort food. Making them from scratch takes them to the next level.

The main ingredients in a classic Sloppy Joe recipe include ground beef, tomato sauce, onion, and spices. These ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores and are often on sale, making them an excellent choice when your trying to stretch your grocery budget.

Sloppy Joes are also crazy versatile. You can use different types of ground meat, such as chicken, turkey or pork, instead of beef. You can omit ground meat altogether and use lentils as the base. As far as vegetables go, the sky’s the limit.

Another reason that Sloppy Joes are a budget-friendly comfort food is that they are easy to make. The recipe requires minimal prep time, and most of the cooking time is hands-off. This means that you can make a large batch of Sloppy Joes at once and have leftovers for a few days. Or pop the leftovers in the freezer and save more time later.

Sloppy Joes are a budget-friendly comfort food that is easy to make, versatile, and highly customizable. With a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that your whole family will love without breaking the bank.

Thanks for reading.

Sloppy Joes

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 - 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground beef - I use 1 lb of lean and 1 lb of medium grind
3 thick slices bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-28 oz can imported diced Plum Tomatoes in Puree
1 cup commercial Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced [optional]
8 hamburger buns
1 cup shredded old white cheddar


  1. Place the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
  2. Add bacon and saute until golden brown.
  3. Stir in the garlic, carrots, celery, onions and bell peppers and continue cooking until the vegetables soften.
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until completely browned.
  5. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce, paprika, sugar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cayenne, thyme, salt, pepper and jalapeno and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  8. Toast the buns under the broiler or in a grill pan.
  9. Divide the beef between the buns on 4 plates and garnish with grated white cheddar.


THE LOVE: Melting your cheese changes it’s flavour. Experiment a little…taste a cheddar cheese sandwich when the cheese is hard then make a grilled cheese sandwich - completely different taste! I serve my Sloppy Joe’s with cold grated cheese but they are also delicious if you melt the white cheddar by placing the bottom portion of the bun, topped with the meat mixture and grated cheese under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown.