I never ate Spaghetti-Os, Chef Boyardee, boxed macaroni and cheese or Manwich. I didn’t do chicken pot pie, Aunt Jemima pancakes or peanut butter and jelly swirled together in a jar. I definitely didn’t eat sugary kids’ cereals. Okay, maybe I was kind of a boring kid. I think the only pre-made stuff my grandma (Mom didn’t– and still doesn’t– cook) bought was Bisquick mix and Mrs. Grass’ soup. I didn’t have boxed macaroni until I was in college. I consider myself lucky– I’ve never really developed a taste for any of these things (when Terry mentioned the PB&J stuff I made a face, he’ll attest) for which my arteries probably thank me. So, tonight, I asked Terry what he wanted for dinner. His answer: “Uh, sloppy Joes. You can make them healthy, though.”
Secret: I have never eaten a sloppy joe, much less made one. I found a couple of recipes I liked, but didn’t really use any of them. I loosely adapted the first, with some spices from the second, and a totally different meat: ground chicken. This is what I came up with.
1.5 pounds ground chicken
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used Trader Joe’s, you can also use 1/2 cup of straight ketchup. Necessity is the mother of invention: I ran out of ketchup.)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
Brown the ground chicken in a saute pan. When cooked thoroughly (break up while it cooks) and browned, pull off the heat. In another saute pan, with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, saute the onions and carrots. When softened, add the garlic and saute a bit longer, until the garlic is fragrant. To the carrot and onion mixture, add the tomato sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, thyme, cayenne, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and add the chicken. Stir to combine. Serve on a toasted wheat bun.
I hear this can be good when topped with potato chips. I was attempting to be healthy. They’re so sloppy I neglected to wipe the darn plate. Consider it evidence of sloppiness.