A lighter Sloppy Joe

Definitely Delicious

By Terri Windover, Connect Contributor

One tasty – and healthier, than the straight-out-of-the-can recipe – sloppy joe! Learn more in this week’s Definitely Delicious feature. Photo by Terri Windover, Connect Weekly

One tasty – and healthier, than the straight-out-of-the-can recipe – sloppy joe! Learn more in this week’s Definitely Delicious feature. Photo by Terri Windover, Connect Weekly

When I think of sloppy joes, I think of my mom opening a can of store bought sauce and combining it with some cooked hamburger meat. Presto! Lunch is served.

Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I thought this was the best thing since sliced bread. Let’s face it though, most children have no appreciation for food not out of a can at some point.

Once I became a mother however, my attitude towards food changed drastically. Combine that with becoming a personal trainer and nutritionist and needless to say sloppy joes just didn’t make the lunchtime cut.

Once Shyla turned four and started demanding this fat and sodium laden “food” every time she saw the stupid commercial on television, I decided I needed to revamp this classic kids’ meal in order to stop her from nagging me to death on the subject.

In this remake I use less ketchup, which I find too sweet and add some tomato sauce. Canned tomatoes simply take too long to break down to the right consistency, and let’s face it, we’re not making sloppy joes because we have a ton of time on our hands to make dinner. Tomato paste made it too thick and gummy, while tomato sauce was the perfect choice.

I sometimes substitute ground chicken or turkey is my recipes, but in this case I didn’t want to lose the beefy flavour. In long simmering sauces, I usually brown the beef first, then rinse the fat off before adding to the dish. In this case however there is simply not enough time to soften the meat, so I add it to the pan raw and simmer in the mix.

In a quest to reduce the amount of beef and hence the fat content and create a better balanced macro profile, I replaced 6 oz of the beef with 6 oz of mushrooms. It adds another layer of flavour and the mushrooms are a great digestive aid.

So, all in all, these simple changes are still reminiscent of the old childhood standby meal in flavour, but contain 190 fewer calories and 17 grams less of fat than the originals. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

For more FREE recipes, go to www.therantingcook.com or for fitness ideas and my rants and raves, visit www.terri-windover.com

• 6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thin
• 2 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
• Salt
• 1 cup onion, minced
• 1 ½ tsp chili powder
• 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
• ¼ cup low sodium ketchup
• ¼ cup water
• 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tsp brown sugar (or sugar free substitute)
• 1 tsp cider vinegar
• Buffalo hot sauce to taste (optional)
• 10 oz. extra lean ground beef
• 4 whole wheat hamburger buns (I use grilled whole wheat garlic toast)

1. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in large skillet over med-low heat. Add mushrooms and ¼ tsp salt, add to pan and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
2. Uncover and increase the heat to med-high, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are well browned, 8-12 minutes.
3. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely ground (about 6 pulses).
4. Heat the remaining tsp of oil in the same skillet until it is shimmering. Add the pulsed mushrooms and onion, cover and cook until the onion is softened. About 8-12 minutes.
5. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, water, Worcestershire, sugar, buffalo hot sauce and cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook over med-low heat until the sauce is thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the beef and simmer, breaking up the meat until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

– Connect Weekly –