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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sloppy joes from scratch easy

 •  Easy Easter

By Elaine Magee

Q. I have been making sloppy joes using a packet from the grocery store. While reading your column last week it occurred to me to ask: Is there a way to make sloppy joes from scratch?

A. It's actually easy to make them at home using ingredients you usually have on hand; it will even save you the extra $2 for the packet. Here's the challenge, though: The sodium is going to be high if you use regular ketchup. I tested this recipe with the No Salt Added Ketchup from Heinz (5 milligrams sodium per tablespoon compared to 190) and it worked well. Those of you used to higher-sodium meals might notice a difference, though. The original recipe calls for a cup of ketchup; I've cut it down to 1/2 cup. I also cut the 1/4 cup of brown sugar called for in half and made it optional. There's plenty of sweetness in the ketchup, so you won't really miss the brown sugar.

Switching to reduced-fat cheese and an extra lean ground beef such as ground sirloin with about 5 to 8 percent fat will trim calories, fat and cholesterol. To pump up the nutrients and fiber in the sloppy joes I doubled the onions and green pepper and switched to a 100 percent whole wheat hamburger bun.

The light homemade sloppy joes have 30 percent fewer calories and more than 50 percent less total fat and saturated fat, and three times the fiber.

If you want to add another vegetable to this dish, cook 1/2 cup shredded carrot along with the beef, bell pepper and onion. The sweetness of the carrot works well with the other ingredients.

Traditional recipe contains 524 calories, 23 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 91 mg cholesterol, and only 1.5 grams fiber per serving.


• 1 pound ground sirloin or super lean ground beef

• 1/2 cup chopped onion

• 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

• 1/2 cup ketchup (use No Salt Added Ketchup or Low Sodium Ketchup if sodium is a concern)

• 1 cup water or nonalcoholic beer

• 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (optional)

• 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

• 4 whole wheat or multigrain hamburger buns or rolls, toasted if desired

• 2 ounces shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

In large nonstick skillet, brown the ground beef, onion and green pepper over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low and stir in the ketchup, water, brown sugar (if desired), mustard, garlic powder, black pepper. Cover skillet, and let simmer for about 6 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so.

Spoon one-fourth of the sloppy joe mixture over the bottom of a split bun. Sprinkle each with about 1/8 cup of shredded cheese and top with the other half of the bun. Oh, and have a napkin close by.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Per sandwich: 365 calories, 31.5 g protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 3.7 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 990 mg sodium (490 mg sodium if low sodium ketchup is used). Calories from fat: 25 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .2 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = 1.3 gram. Weight Watchers POINTS = 7.