SLOPPY JOE (the version NOT found in schools), by Evan J.
When I was a Middle School student a “few” years ago (ahem),
I remember waiting on line in the school cafeteria, holding my
bulky plastic tray (to support the paper tray with multiple and odd
square-like compartments). That might sound mathematically
fancy, but the food placed in those squares was perfunctory, predictable,
and “average” quality. The oil slick residue was another beautiful
bonus to complement the excuse for lunch. The icing on the cake
had to be “the spork.” “Use the spork, Luke…” Things might not have
changed much since then… It is safe to suggest, however, that
school food quality has always been questionable. It’s NOT all bad,
but most people would tend to agree that cafeteria food contains a
negative connotation, especially in Public Schools, nationally and
globally. Upon first glance at this post’s title, some people
might have had a flashback and made a run for it. Hopefully,
you’re still reading because you know something great is certainly
going to be revealed: A simple and quick way to upgrade the
“old school” Sloppy Joe to a “new school” version.
Here are the ingredients:
**1 pound of Ground Turkey Meat (not ground beef)
**1-2 Tablespoons of E.V.O.O.
**1 small diced onion
**1/2 cup of Roasted Peppers (see below)
**Roasted Garlic (see below and add what you feel)
**1-2 cans of Mushrooms or cut fresh ones
**1 can of Manwich, or generic Sloppy Joe sauce
**1 fresh Kaiser Roll, Baguette, or Italian Bread
Either use a few big ones (red, yellow, orange)
or roast a mini mixture (Costco has a great deal).
If you use the big Peppers,you’ll have to char or burn
the outside skin under the broiler, and then put into a
covered bowl for several minutes. Later on, peel off the
plastic-like skin and discard it; cut the Peppers into small
strips. The mini peppers can be roasted on a sheet pan in
the oven directly under the broiler. Toss in some E.V.O.O.
to coat, Salt, and Fresh Ground Pepper. Roast until very well done.
You can peel off the skin, but it’s not necessary (unless you’re an
Take 4 entire Garlic bulbs and cut off the tops. Douse the Garlic with
E.V.O.O. and sprinkle with Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper. Put in
a Convection Oven on 325. The key to successful Roasted Garlic is
the “low and slow” method. Keep the temperature low, cook it slowly,
and brush the oil over the Garlic every 10-15 minutes. If the oil gets
absorbed by the Garlic, add more oil. Cook for around 45+ minutes or until
the Garlic begins to carmelize, turn brown, and blister slowly. Don’t burn it
or you’ll really hate your life. Roasted Garlic takes some patience, but it’s
totally worth it. You can save the oil and put into a jar (it’s now infused Olive Oil),
and use the leftover Roasted Garlic for Pizza, Hummus Dip, Garlic Bread, etc.
Add the E.V.O.O. to the pan and saute the onion. Add
the Ground Turkey, but season with a little Salt and
Fresh Ground Pepper. Cook until the Turkey is no longer
pink and raw. Add the Roasted Peppers, Garlic, and
Mushrooms until everything is incorporated. Add the entire
can of sauce (use a plastic spatula). Mix well and let simmer
for 5-12 minutes. Serve with any of the aforementioned
toasted bread. After your first bite, you’ll have some closure
regarding “old school” Sloppy Joe. The new version is healthier,
tastes amazing, easy to make, provides a few days of leftovers,
and an overdue, well-deserved upgrade.
“May the spork be with you…”
Evan J. “wanna be” gourmet