My husband has been on a health kick lately. Well, his version of a health kick, which consists of, “Can you make more healthy things for dinner?” Which, when I do, he quite often complains that they don’t taste good. (Like wanting to add meat to the No Guilt Cheese Enchiladas.) So I had some trepidations about trying this meal, but I thought, what the hay. There were still a few leftovers in the fridge if he just couldn’t stand it. And I’ve never really tried too many of those “hidden vegetable” meals. Not to say we couldn’t use a few more in our dinner repertoire.
Good for You Sloppy Joes
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (1/3 cup)
½ cup chopped red or green sweet pepper
½ cup shredded carrot or zucchini
1 cup Kellogg’s All-Bran Original cereal
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles or diced tomatoes with green chiles , undrained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
8 whole wheat hamburger buns
carrot sticks (optional)
In a large skillet cook beef, onion, sweet pepper, and carrot until meat is brown; drain fat. Stir in All-Bran, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, and salt. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Serve in buns. Serve with carrot sticks (if desired).
Changes? Of course. I used onion powder, as usual. And because I don’t much like peppers but realize that you can’t really have good sloppy joes without them, and because my middlest doesn’t much like tomatoes, I put the green pepper and the diced tomatoes (yep, I actually got a can with green chiles, can you believe it?) in my little food processor and got them all nice and tiny. No complaints about green peppers from me, no complaints about tomatoes from my middlest. Although it did make the sauce a little runnier. That, and I used V8 instead of tomato sauce. I cut it down to just one 11.5 ounce can, but maybe I’ll have to add more All-Bran next time to soak up a little more of the juice. Oh, and I used zucchini because my mom had just given me a bag of shredded zuch from her freezer that needed to be used up. And because I didn’t feel like hunting down my cumin I just used a couple dashes of taco seasoning. That’s it. I really stuck to the recipe other than that. Really.
I was a little worried that the All-Bran would make for a weird consistency – who likes soggy All-Bran? (And if we’re honest, who likes All-Bran at all?) We’ve all eaten something that feels like wet sawdust in your mouth, right? No? Just me and the Scots? (I’m talking haggis here. Anyone else try that before? Tastes good, but feels like wet sawdust. And just don’t ask how they make it!) Despite being somewhat runny, these were quite good. Husband approved (before I told him they were “healthy”) and all the kids (who I didn’t bother to tell they were “healthy”) gobbled them up. It took my littlest quite a while to decide he would even try his – I think he’s getting tired of trying new foods – but when he got hungry enough we finally convinced him and he decided it really was yum. My oldest went back for seconds! And a bonus to these healthy sloppy joes: no need for extra veggies! (At least in my opinion. Any true health fanatics out there may dispute me on that one.) They already have zucchini, green pepper and tomatoes, so anything else you eat with it (like the optional carrot sticks – which I think is a bit of overkill if you’re using them in the sloppy joes; why not choose another kind of veggie?) counts as extra!
My oldest and I put a little lettuce on ours, and our family can’t eat much of anything without adding cheese. Hope you make some for your family. Enjoy!