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One of my favorite quotes about food comes from Michael Pollan (rule #45, Food Rules): “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” That rule, to me, perfectly sums up what a real food lifestyle is all about–taking responsibility for our food.
A real food lifestyle isn’t about fancy ingredients or a restrictive diet. It’s about getting back to the basics of buying (and growing) real ingredients and cooking/preparing our own nourishing meals. Real food is that simple. It’s about taking responsibility for the food we choose to consume, making that food, and enjoying that food.
If you want to eat something–a cookie, sloppy joes, pizza, pancakes, a salad–make it yourself. And on those days/nights when you need to go out, find someone/someplace you trust to make it for you, like a favorite local restaurant.
Today, let’s put Michael Pollan’s rule into practice, just like we do every week, and make some homemade sloppy joes.
Side Note: I don’t think sloppy joes are junk food, but I think Pollan’s quote can be applied to more than just traditional “junk food.”
This one-skillet, homemade sloppy joe recipe comes together in the same amount of time it takes to make sloppy joes using a can of Manwich (Was anyone else raised on the bright orange and brown cans?), so it’s a great meal to make even on the busiest of nights.
If you want to do some prep in advance, chop the onions and peppers and store them in a container, and then prep the sauce in a separate storage container. Store everything in the fridge. When you’re ready to make the sloppy joes, simply sauté the veggies, brown the meat, and pour the sauce over the mixture.
I also recommend spreading butter over the burger buns (Silver Hills Bakery brand is my favorite, or use this homemade recipe) and then place them under the broiler (set on low) until they’re toasted. Serve the sloppy joes on the warm, toasted buns, along with some sauerkraut (so good) and an easy weeknight salad on the side.
30-Minute Homemade Sloppy Joes
A (homemade) real food sloppy joe recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes.
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
Heat a large skillet with tall sides (this is my skillet, pictured), or a dutch oven, over medium-high heat.
Add the oil to the hot skillet, along with the diced onions and peppers. Cook until softened and translucent. Add garlic in the final minute so it doesn’t burn.
Push the onions and peppers to the outside of the pan, clearing a spot in the middle. Add the ground beef and cook through.
While the beef is browning, mix the sauce.
Add all the sauce ingredients to a mixing bowl (tomato sauce through salt) and stir well to combine.
If there's a lot of fat in the skillet (this will depend on your ground beef), drain the fat before proceeding on...Once the beef is cooked through, stir in the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. I cover the skillet and check on the mixture every few minutes, stirring if needed, to prevent a particular area from burning/sticking.
Serve on fresh buns. I also like to serve these with sauerkraut.