If your childhood was at all like mine, you remember Sloppy Joes. We had them as an easy meal at my house, sometimes over potatoes instead of buns (or more likely, bread). We ate them in school cafeterias in both elementary school and high school. They were everywhere. When too much beef became bad for you, we made them out of ground turkey (ewww....).
And then, I went years and years and years without eating sloppy joes because they somehow got a bad wrap. Maybe it was the ground turkey substitution. Maybe it was the commercials for ManWich (or whatever sloppy joe in a can was called). Whatever it was, sloppy joes weren't cool enough for me.
Then I had kids. I also had a split 1/4 of cow in my freezer which meant lots of ground beef. It helped too, that Ree of The Pioneer Woman fame had a sloppy joe recipe last year with fabulous pictures (as usual). The stars aligned correctly and I tried sloppy joes again.
We all loved them. Even Curtis, the one who doesn't love casseroles and jello salads, stated they were good. This past time I made them (yes, I've made them several times before posting), I used large whole wheat dinner rolls for the buns--we didn't need hamburger sized sloppy joes. These are sloppy (I had a very sloppy J picture that didn't make the cut because it was just way too sloppy!)
adapted just slightly from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
1 lb ground beef
1/4 large onion, diced
1/2 large bell pepper, diced (any color will do)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c ketchup
1/2 c water
1 T brown sugar
1 t chili powder
1/2 t dry mustard
1/2 -1 t Worcestershire sauce (I have to be honest, I didn't measure this)
1 T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
buns, cooked/baked potatoes, or bread
Saute the ground beef in a large skillet until brown. Drain off excess fat. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables soften. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in buns, over boiled or baked potatoes, or in bread.