The hot weather of summer has hit, and my kitchen is not air conditioned. This means that I’m not doing a whole lot of cooking in my kitchen. My summer recipes use the grill, the crockpot, the microwave… anything to avoid the stove or oven! If I am using the stove, it’s for the shortest amount of time possible, making something that’s easy to do a double batch & that freezes well. I also try to make things that either use up the remnants of the previous year’s home-canned stuff or uses up veg harvested from the garden.
Sloppy Joes fit the bill!
As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a big fan of using store bought sauces. Yes, I do use them occasionally. Sometimes they are a necessary evil. But I do consider them to be culinary evil. And sometimes making it yourself is so easy and cheap, they just don’t make sense! Happily, sloppy joes fall into that category.
My recipe uses tomato paste and salsa that I made and canned from last year’s garden, some seasoning and 2 pounds of ground beef. I’ve made it using store-bought paste or tomato sauce and salsa, and it’s pretty tasty that way, too. The best part: it makes enough that I’ve got enough to freeze some for a future dinner!
2 lb ground beef (I prefer 90-95% lean; you can also use alternative lean meat, such as buffalo, or the vegetarian ground beef substitute)
2-3 large cloves fresh garlic, minced fine (or well crushed, grated or otherwise turned into garlic goo)
Either: 1/4 c tomato paste plus 2 c water
OR: 2 c tomato sauce
2 c salsa
2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp garlic salt
Optional seasonings, based on mood/taste preference: Italian seasoning blend, hot red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, cilantro… pretty much anything that goes well with tomato-based sauces!
Note 1- You may want to add a teaspoon or so of sugar along with the tomato products if you’re feeding this to kids or are particularly fond of the canned stuff.
Note 2- this is one of those recipes that you can easily slip extra veggies into, or use up the ends of the jars of salsa and/or spaghetti sauce type stuff.
Brown and drain ground beef.
Add garlic & cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.
Add everything else and stir to combine. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has cooked down to the point where, when you run the spoon across the bottom of the pan, it doesn’t fill back in immediately. Taste it and adjust the seasonings to suit your preference.
Serve over your favorite GF bread.
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