Best. Sloppy Joe’s. Ever.
No, really. They are the Best Sloppy Joe’s Ever. According to us, anyway.
“Best Ever” can be fightin’ words. Especially when talking about chili. Or chocolate chip cookies. Or *gasp* pie crust. That last one can be a direct assault on a grandma if said to the wrong person.
Why are these the best Sloppy Joe’s ever?
First, because they’re not overly sweet or fussy. You don’t even need a knife for this. For reals.
And second, it’s my grandma’s recipe. No, not Grandma Inez. My Grandma LaRue, who claims she’s a “horrible cook.” I sense that she doesn’t enjoy cooking, but I have to disagree with her. In fact, two of my favorite family recipes come from her, my favorite chocolate cake. And these Sloppy Joe’s.
My mom made these for us all the time when I was growing up. When I eat them now I think about a typical night around the table. . . .
Dad watches the news. Mom tries to convince my picky baby sister to eat. And my younger brother and I make faces and stick out our tongues (full of chewed-up dinner) at each other from across the table while my mom’s preoccupied. Then we do the “I have a secret” giggle, and my mom wonders what’s so funny.
We still do that as adults. We’re so mature.
I think there are two types of family recipes. Those that stay exactly the same for decades and those that evolve with each generation. This one has evolved somewhat. My mom didn’t like cooking with fresh onion, so she used dried. She also likes hers with pickles, and that’s how I like them, too.
I threw my little spin on these as well, using plain tomato sauce in place of condensed tomato soup, using a gluten-free thickener, and using lettuce leaves (on occasion) instead of buns. Grains for greens!
I have to admit — eating these as a lettuce wrap gives a whole new meaning to the word “sloppy.”
I actually prefer to eat them over a pile of Sweet Potato Fries. Like chili fries, but better.
If you’re looking for a vegan version, try mushroom and cashew-based Vegan Sloppy Joes!