Growing up, we were a Manwich family through and through. We ate sloppy joes a lot, and Mom always used the sauce from the can. I'm not going to lie: To this day, I shamelessly love the canned stuff. Since leaving my mom's house, I've tried to find a suitable replacement for it...really, I have. First, there was my best friend's version of the sauce, which consisted of just ketchup and brown sugar. Delicious, but not exactly what I was going for. Then there was the version I created while working at the Waffle House (I've mentioned that I worked there, right? All through high school and college?), which consisted of every sauce and/or condiment in the place all mixed together. Also pretty delicious, but expensive to make at home -- a lot of those sauces ain't cheap!
Mostly, when I make plain old sloppy joes, I still use the sauce from the can. But when I came across this recipe, it looked too yummy not to try. And it's the perfect sloppy joe sauce -- a more-than-suitable replacement for my beloved can!
What I really love about this recipe is that the sloppy joes are served in a hot dog bun, and that there's a piece of string cheese underneath the meat and sauce. It was such a fun, unexpected surprise for my oldest when he bit into his sloppy joe. True to its name, the string cheese gets all stringy and melty, and its mildness complements the slightly spicy and altogether flavorful sloppy joes. We all loved these, and they're well on their way to "family favorite" status.
Sloppy Joes with a String Cheese Surprise
adapted from Simply Scratch
Bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
8 mozzarella string cheese sticks, at room temperature
8 hot dog buns
1. Sauté the onions in bacon grease or oil. Once translucent and soft, add the garlic, cook for one minute. Add the ground beef and cook through, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the chili powder, tomato sauce, brown sugar, water, mustard, and Worcestershire to the meat mixture. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Place the cheese sticks inside the buns and top with sloppy joe sauce. Serve immediately.