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Quick and Easy: Sloppy Joes

Categories: Cooking, Crockpot, Food


I am almost embarrassed to post this recipe. Almost. But in an effort to keep it real I am going to anyway. Because I realize that there are just some days and nights that are so busy, cooking entirely from scratch is a near impossibility.

Right now we have entered baseball season at our house. To give you an idea of what this means, I had to get a dedicated baseball calendar because my regular calendar DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH ROOM.

Oh sorry, was I shouting?

On the practical side this means that night after night I have to come up with meals that are quick. I try to limit cold cuts to once a week.

Also, my children told me I should post this recipe because they love it. And I maintain that it has to be better for you than fast food.

You will need:

2lbs of ground beef
2 cans tomato soup
1 large jar salsa

Step One: Brown the ground beef in your skillet. Drain any excess fat after you are done.

Step Two: Decide if you want to cook it in your crockpot or on the stove top.

Step Three: If crockpot, dump it all in there and turn on low. Let it cook until you are ready to eat.


Step Three Alternate: If stove top, dump everything into your pot. Turn to low, cover, and let simmer 15 minutes or until warmed through.


Step Four: Spoon onto buns. To be extra fancy you can toast the buns in your oven for a few minutes beforehand.


Enjoy.  For a more well balanced meal serve with carrot sticks, the lazy mom’s vegetable of choice.  And chips.  Because carbs are the fuel for the body and, um, we can always use more of them.


We can just keep this recipe our own dirty little secret, okay?

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16 comments so far...

  • so, seriously, that’s as easy as it is? no need to buy packets of spices, or jars of special ’sloppy joe’ mix stuff…?? I AM SO EXCITED! i can portion control this! i could even 1/2 it (we are only a family of 2.5) and have leftovers. with fake meat crumbles!
    you have no idea, so excited, thank you for posting this embarrassingly easy recipe because some of us are embarrassingly clueless….

    Kate  |  April 22nd, 2008 at 6:16 pm

  • We don’t call this cheating, we call it survival. Of course, we only have two weeknight baseball games this week (plus 3 soccer practices and a kids’ marathon to run, but who’s counting?)

    It’s hot, it’s homemade, it has some vegetable content, and iit’s popular. We need to try this version — much easier than my “chop the peppers and onions” version. I

    Sarah  |  April 22nd, 2008 at 6:24 pm

  • I just have to tell you how much I look forward to your articles. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but it is so enjoyable to read, and your recipe philosophy is 100% up my alley. Nutritious, quick, and realistic! And honestly, as rabid sloppy joe fans, I may never buy the canned stuff again. Thank you so much!

    Regina  |  April 22nd, 2008 at 7:22 pm

  • Would you believe me if I said that the first time I ever had a sloppy joe was less than a year ago? Now I cook them almost weekly. I love sloppy joes. Mine are way different than yours, more like barbecue sandwiches, but still…SLOPPY JOES: YUM.

    Karly  |  April 22nd, 2008 at 7:27 pm

  • This was a hit in our house tonight! Thanks so much! I haven’t had time to cook much since my second son was born. But since I found your blog I am finding time to make healthy meals for my family and give my husband a break.

    Katie  |  April 23rd, 2008 at 4:15 am

  • My mom taught me a sloppy joe recipe thats more sweet, and always a big hit-

    brown up beef & some diced onion (optional).
    Drain off fat.
    dump in some brown sugar (2 Tbs or so)
    Dump in some ketchup (1/4-1/ cup or so)
    Dump in some yellow mustard (less than the ketchup, somewhere between 2Tbs-1/4 cup)

    key here is to just toss everything in, measuring is not of the essence.
    stir and simmer for a few minutes, serve on buns or white bread.

    Katrina  |  April 23rd, 2008 at 2:26 pm

  • So my mom made sloppy joes at my house during a recent visit and her recipe is hamburger meat, ketchup and relish. I freaked out about how easy it was–how had I gotten to be an adult without knowing? She looked at me and said, “Every meal I made when you were kids was easy.” Ah ha! The secret is out!

    aimee  |  April 23rd, 2008 at 9:10 pm

  • Now I know what I will make for dinner tonight! Going to go pull out the frozen ground beef!

    Cleo  |  April 24th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

  • OK, wait maybe tomorrow night, because I forgot we used up all the salsa Tuesday. I am just glad I am not the only one that allows that to count as a vegetable for dinner!

    Cleo  |  April 24th, 2008 at 3:46 pm

  • I am a big sloppy joes fan - mine is 1 8oz can of tomato sauce to 2lbs meat, mustard and brown sugar. I dump it all in and let it simmer.

    We serve with cucumber slices and carrot sticks

    Mary  |  April 24th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

  • There is NOTHING wrong with this recipe! It’s totally home-cooked and you could make it even healthier by using lean ground turkey instead of beef. By the way, Fantastic Foods makes a box of vegetarian sloppy joe mix that requires only water, olive oil, and a can of tomato paste, and my family LOVES it. Now that’s healthy! (it’s made from soy. and yes, it tastes just as good as the real thing.)

    Shannon  |  April 24th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

  • I only wish my children liked salsa as much as yours.

    cristen  |  April 29th, 2008 at 1:51 pm

  • my kiddo loved this and so did I. I normally hate sloppy joes. I put them in pita pockets and Meredith thought she was eating little pizzas!

    mandi  |  April 30th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

  • Just made this tonite and no leftovers! It’s so incredibly easy I think I could make it in my sleep!

    And at least it’s not fast food!

    Love it! Thanks for posting incredibly easy recipes for the cooking-challenged people like me!

    Shalini  |  May 3rd, 2008 at 12:37 pm

  • Chris,
    Thanks for this recipe. I made it on friday and it was a big hit. I have always loved to cook- everything from semi-complicated to super easy. However since my second child was born nine months ago, I have lost my desire… Anyway, I still have to make food, so I really appreciate recipes like this one for days when I am beat! Thanks again.

    Jennifer  |  May 19th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

  • So easy and soooo good. Kids inhaled it and my husband thought I had been chopping and dicing all afternoon. Yum yum!

    Denise  |  October 29th, 2009 at 12:05 am