The entire family loved this! Tasty and so easy to make in a pinch!

Sloppy Joe Casserole

Ah, the Sloppy Joe – a classic American dish that packs a punch in the comfort food category. Legend has it that this saucy sandwich concoction originated in the 1930s in a café in Sioux City, Iowa, where a cook named Joe added a tomato-based sauce to his loose meat sandwiches. Since then, it’s been a favorite at diners and kitchen tables alike.

Now, imagine taking the bold flavors of a Sloppy Joe and transforming them into a hearty casserole, ripe with the charms of penne pasta. It’s the kind of dish that brings back memories of childhood flavors, paired with a “grown-up” twist. The Sloppy Joe Casserole is perfect for those who want to enjoy a familiar taste in a novel and comforting way. It’s a dish that you can easily whip up for a weeknight dinner, yet it’s impressive enough to serve at a casual get-together. And penne pasta, with its exemplary ability to hold sauce, is an ideal counterpart to the rich and tangy Sloppy Joe mixture.

This Sloppy Joe Casserole can claim the spotlight all on its own, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to complete the meal with some complementary sides. A crisp green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette provides a refreshing contrast to the casserole’s richness. Or consider serving it with a side of roasted vegetables – think zucchini, bell peppers, and onions – which will balance out the robust flavors. And of course, don’t forget the garlic bread! It’s ideal for sopping up any remaining sauce.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • – 1 lb ground beef
  • – 1 medium onion, chopped
  • – 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • – 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • – 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • – 1/2 cup ketchup
  • – 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • – 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • – 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • – Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • – 8 oz penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • – Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set it aside.
  • 2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, crumbling it with a spatula, and cook until browned. Drain excess grease.
  • 3. To the beef, add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and diced bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • 4. Stir in tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard powder, and red pepper flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 5. Combine the cooked penne pasta with the meat sauce in the skillet, mixing well to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated.
  • 6. Transfer half of the pasta and meat mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta mixture and cheese.
  • 7. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
  • 8. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving, and enjoy the heartwarming merge of Sloppy Joe flavors with beloved pasta comfort.

Variations & Tips:

For a healthier twist, you can opt for ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. Want a little extra veg? Stir in some corn or chopped zucchini with the bell peppers. If you’re in the mood for extra spice, a diced jalapeño can be a fiery addition.

Or, for those who fancy a more Italianesque vibe, swap out the cheddar and mozzarella for a blend of provolone and Parmesan. And if you’re short on time, don’t hesitate to cut a few corners with a quality store-bought Sloppy Joe sauce. Remember, in the kitchen, creativity is just as important as tradition!