The male given name in my family of origin is Joseph, and most of them have gone by the nickname of Joe. Any time we have Sloppy Joes for dinner, my dad would pitch a mock fit of resentment about the term. So around my house, we changed the name to Sloppy Beef to solve this problem. We also would make this out of ground buffalo on occasion, so that was called Sloppy Buffalo. To further complicate the naming of this dish, we also have “Daddy Sloppy Beef” and “Mama Sloppy Beef.” My ex makes Sloppy Joes with beef, sometimes onion, ketchup and chili powder. My recipe is the more complex one below that includes vegetables. My ex does not like celery seed, so when he was eating it, I never put it in, but I love the taste it adds.
My kids tend to be horrified by the idea of “hiding” vegetables in food. They point out that they can see them and taste them so therefore they are not hidden and the grown-ups who think they are pulling one over on the kids are really not. I have to laugh at their honesty. This is one of the “hidden” ways that I can easily get vegetables into them, though. I guess if you add enough ketchup to anything it becomes edible to some of the kid population. My daughter still won’t eat this, though.
This recipe is also flexible on the veggies. I didn’t have a yellow squash for the version I made for the pictures, so I just used two zucchini. I bought a red pepper because they were all the same price and I like the color it adds, but if green peppers are cheaper, then that’s what I use. I like seeing if I can get red, orange, yellow and green colors in the recipe, or if purple peppers are in season, I can get purple in there, too. The cup estimates are just that: Estimates to give you a general idea of how much to add. If you end up with 1.75 cups of squash and 1.75 cups of carrots, it will be fine. I never actually measure the veggies when I’m making the recipe for my family.
2 pounds 95% organic or grass-fed ground beef or buffalo
1 medium organic yellow or white onion, diced (about 1.5 cups)
1 organic red pepper, diced (about 1.5 cups) (or any other bell pepper)
1 small organic zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)
1 small organic yellow squash, grated (about 1 cup)
2 small organic carrots, grated (about 1.5 cups)
1 tablespoon organic dry mustard
2 tablespoons organic chili powder (or less if you don’t like it spicy)
1 teaspoon organic celery seed (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
About ¾ to 1 cup organic ketchup
Brown the beef, onion, and pepper over medium heat. When it is about half way cooked, add in the zucchini, squash and carrots and continue to brown. Once the beef is browned and all the vegetables are soft, add in the seasonings and the ketchup. You should add enough ketchup to make the sloppy beef as sloppy as you prefer.
Serve over bread, tortillas, or rice.
Serves 4-6, depending on how many of them are starving carnivorous male children.