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Taste and Create: Three Sides of Crazy

This is my second month participating in Taste and Create and I completely goofed on the deadline. I'm sorry! I was assigned to Three Sides of Crazy - "but counting down to normal." I only hope that I cooked from the correct blog because when I selected my recipe, it took me to a completely different one: Always Eat on the Good China. Fingers crossed...

I picked the recipe for - Homemade Sloppy Joes - because, like meatballs, my boys cannot get enough. They will try every single variation we find.

A quick story about Sloppy Joes...I pack my kids' lunches...and mine...and my husband's. But I quickly realized that ordering hot lunch at school was something the boys wanted to do for the social (versus culinary) aspect. They felt that they were the only ones who never got to pick up a tray, wait in line, and get food from the cafeteria. While I am fully cognizant that my two are not the only ones whose moms pack their lunches everyday, I still agreed that once a month they could choose a hot lunch.

Back when Riley was in 2nd grade, he had never heard of - or had - a Sloppy Joe. But I told him that he would like it. It had meat and tomatoes, two of his favorites. And he did. He loved it!

The next month, while perusing the menu to make his selection he hollered, "Mommy, what's the name of the sandwich that I like? You know...'messy'?! Jack??!" Triumphantly he announced, "That's it: Messy Jacks!" We all laughed and it became a running family joke. So, we make them - at home - with different recipes and we were thrilled to try this one. Click on the title below the photo for the original recipe.

  Riley's Messy Jacks

splash of olive oil
1 pound 96/4 beef
1 large onion, diced
2 shallots, diced
2 bell pepper (I used red and orange, you could use green or whatever you like), diced
3/4 C organic ketchup
1/2 C water
1/2 t chili powder, more or less to taste
freshly ground salt
Montreal Steak Seasoning (I didn't have Montreal Steak Seasoning, so I added the ingredients below)
Worchestershire sauce (I didn't have Worchestershire sauce either)
Liquid smoke (I didn't have Liquid smoke either)
1 t fresh squeezed lime juice
1 t blackstrap molasses
1 t raw honey
splash of Thai fish sauce
splash of soy sauce
splash of pear vinegar

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, shallots, and bell peppers. Cook until softened. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain as much of the fat as you can. Add the ketchup, dry mustard, water and Worcestershire sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and Liquid smoke substitute ingredients. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve on pretzel rolls or kaiser rolls. Enjoy!


  1. My boys love sloppy joes too! Love your pictures. Thanks for joining us!
    The Bad Girl's Kitchen
    Taste & Create


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