Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

My wife and I tend to plan most of our meals based on what we like, and what we think is going to be healthy for the kids. We’ve never really given them a choice of what to have for dinner, and we may have even formed beliefs such as, “my child will never be a picky eater.”

I’ve never understood the families that will go to three different fast food restaurants because each kid prefers something different.

That probably won’t change.

What has slowly started to change is my understanding that kids are kids. Their tastes are simple, or – in the case of our daughter – they may be extremely complex (e.g., she hates quinoa and couscous, but she’ll eat pickled herring). Sometimes, we just have to give em’ the foods that they want. And yes, sometimes they are rather picky. Oh reality, how I loathe you sometimes…

Cue the sloppy joes. A kid classic! Oh, and you’ll see no complaints from the adults in this house. We love them too! This recipe comes from my mother-in-law who actually adapted it from her mother’s recipe, so it is tried and true! It is tangy and sweet and delicious. And messy.

In the words of Ashley Olsen (from the movie It Takes Two), “it’s a big, gooey, messy burger.”

Enjoy every minute of it. Especially if you are enjoying it with your kids!


  • 1½ lbs ground beef (I use 85%)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (regular vinegar will also work)
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ½ dozen hamburger buns


Brown ground beef in a large pan. Drain some of the grease (using a ladle) if it looks like too much. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients (except for the buns of course) in a large bowl to make the sauce.

Pour the sauce into the pan with the meat, and bring the sloppy joe mixture to a gentle bubble on medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

Place a heaping scoop of the meat sauce on a bun, and grab some napkins!

This recipe makes six sloppy joes.

Sloppy Joes

Between my chicken tenders on Monday and this recipe, I’ve been earning some points with the kiddos! Do you have picky eaters? Or maybe you are a picky eater yourself? Help me out and give me some ideas for stuff to make!


  1. says

    This is awesome Justin! So simple yet the perfect meal for the entire family. We’ve got one seriously picky one here, so finding something we all like is a challenge at times. This one however, would go over so well!

    • says

      Thanks Matt! It’s a great family dinner, and I’ve got the perfect side dish to go with it that I’ll be posting on Monday!

  2. Maureen says

    Well Justin you know I am a picky eater but somehow when you make things I have to try them and usually like them. These sloppy joes sound really good, I will have to try them and the chicken too! You should make another cook book with all these recipes in it. :)

    • says

      Thanks grandma:) Hold off on going to the grocery store until you see Friday’s recipe. It’s something I know you will love!

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