Creative compromise! I’ve been hankering for a pizza, but the pizza places around here leave us with empty pockets and a fridge full of unwanted leftovers. My hubby mentioned “sloppy joes”, but I just wasn’t in the mood for them. So I decided to come up with my own version of a pizzeria-style “Sloppy Joe”! Though this isn’t a new concept, I’m sure many have done this way before me, this is my own recipe version for them and happy to say that they are delicious! What a super fun change of pace! And they do taste just like pizza! Sadly, a boatload better than any actual pizza around here. Even the so-called “mom ‘n pop shops” are so commercial I don’t think they make a single thing from scratch or by hand.
What made shops so successful in the past? Hard work. Honest, hard work and not expecting to get rich. Just doing what you know, doing it well, and doing your part. Just making a simple living all the same as the person next door. Your part, responsibility and duty to contribute and provide a service to the town you live in. Simple as that. As it should be, anyways. I think that’s why the restaurant business has such a massively high failure rate. People go into business for all the wrong reasons. If your heart isn’t in it all the way, for the long haul, and only concerned about how much money you’re going to get out of it and expect it fast to boot, you’re pretty much sure to fail and have no “business” starting one to begin with. We all have talents. Find yours, what you love to do more than anything else in the whole world, do your best at it, and stick with it! No one has ever failed at doing their best. That is a win no matter the outcome. 🙂
So this was created in my own little humble kitchen, in my pj’s, because I didn’t even feel good to begin with. If I can make a simple sloppy joe taste like a darned good pizza, then shame, shame on all the, (especially commercially owned and operated), faux pizza parodies that claim how great their “high-quality” (*cough* crap) “handmade” pizza is, and how “fresh” their (*cough cough* frozen and dehydrated) ingredients are. I say “bull”. “Buuulllll-oney!” Put the phone down. Toss the mail-ad-menus and misleading coupons aside. Don’t succumb to the scum. Head out to the kitchen with me. 😉 We’ll make something spooktacular with REAL ingredients, really easy, and won’t have us taking a second mortgage out on our homes just to feed our families simply because we have a craving for a pizza, or want to throw a casual Halloween Party as an excuse to be with those we love…with actual food for them to eat…not consisting of “Candy Corn Pie Surprise”. 😉
After sautéing the ground beef and sausage with a few herbs, spices, mushrooms, green peppers and onions and simmering in an easy sauce…it’s just a simple matter of assembly from here on out! And the first part is a helluvalot cheaper than “Airwick” or “Febreeze” and makes your house smell a WHOLE heck of a lot better. 😉
Dress your buns with a nice slathering of garlic butter…best to keep the “damn vampires” away…
Then run them under the broiler for just a tad. Just to get them lightly browned.
Reheat meat mixture as needed, and remove the tops from the baking sheet so we don’t burn them. Then pile as much of the pizza meat as desired onto the golden-browned bottoms!
Next is some lightly toasted pepperoni, to render the excess fat, nicely placed on top! (Psssst! 😉 You might want to broil a few extra slices…ya know…just to taste and make sure they’re ok and all. Jus’ sayin’.) 😉
And now here comes my favorite part – – the mozzarella!!!!! Pile it on, baby!!!!!
Run me under the broiler and make me pretty!!! 🙂
Now where in town can you get a sandwich like this???!!!!
Nowhere near us, that’s for sure!!! But that’s why we just make everything ourselves anymore. 😉 It tastes better, we know and can control what goes into it, and it’s a FRACTION of the cost. Not to mention cleaner. Sorry! I know you don’t want to hear this, but we all (home cooks vs. restaurant workers) wash our hands and keep our kitchens clean. Less passing of colds and…. well, we just won’t go there. Literally. 😉
With all of the Halloween parties and football parties coming up QUICK, I thought you all might just like an easy take on a sloppy joe that really kicks it up a notch and goes a long way! You can serve these as regular-sized or sliders, fill jalapeños or pasta shells, make bruschettas or calzones, or even garlic bread finger sandwiches for parties with this meat mixture! It freezes well too, and can be reheated over cooked macaroni for a quick-to-the-table lunch or supper on a busy, chilly night, as well! So make a batch, enjoy, and save yourself a huge ding on your credit card for a delivery pizza! Oh, and yes, this can also be piled onto a homemade pizza crust, too. 😉 Enjoy and have a most wonderful time making this! I hope your party guests and family enjoy!! 🙂
ITALIAN PIZZERIA-STYLE SLOPPY JOES
Makes 8-10 regular-sized sandwiches or about 16-20 sliders (*freezes well)
1 lb. hot italian ground sausage, or remove meat from casings if links
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp. whole fennel seed
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 (8 oz.) basket of fresh sliced mushrooms
2 – 14.5 oz. cans stewed tomatoes plus the juice, I like Hunt’s
1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste, Contadina or Hunt’s are both good
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil, crushed between your fingers
8-10 buns, depending on size and how much meat is desired
1 stick butter melted with 1 tsp. garlic powder
32-40 slices pepperoni, lightly broiled and excess fat patted dry
2 lbs. mozzarella, shredded
In large deep frying pan, sauté hot italian sausage breaking up into bite-sized pieces. Remove with a slotted spoon when done onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Leave flavored fat in pan, don’t drain yet!
Break up ground beef into pan of fat. Yes, do this. There is a LOT of flavor to add to the beef in it while it’s cooking and it will get drained of all fat later. Add next 6 spices plus onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Stir to mix and sauté over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and veggies are crisp-tender. Now drain grease well.
Add sausage back in plus next 7 ingredients, crushing stewed tomato pieces well with your hand while adding, and stir well to mix all. (Break up any last big pieces of tomatoes you might have missed with edge of spoon while cooking.) Heat to boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer until thickened to desired consistency, 30-45 minutes depending on how high you simmer. I like mine thick and do a low simmer for at least 45 minutes. Stir often and as needed and don’t leave unattended. As it thickens, it will splatter if not stirred now and then. When totally thickened, set aside.
Line baking sheet(s) with foil and place opened bun halves inner sides-up. Brush generously with melted garlic-butter. Place under broiler and toast until just browned. Remove immediately. Remove tops and set aside leaving bottoms on baking sheet.
Pile hot meat mixture on top of bottoms. Top with toasted pepperoni slices and pile with mounds of shredded mozzarella. Place back under boiler and broil until cheese has melted. Place on toasted tops and serve hot. Can also be made on slider rolls or open-faced on garlic bread sliced into 1 1/2 – 2″ wide slices for finger appetizers.