We’re taking the classic summer camp lunch and elevating it to a dinner-worthy casserole. There are few dishes more crowd-pleasing than a sloppy joe recipe, which is why we’re capitalizing on this family favorite and making it even easier to prepare. With its sweet-savory blend of sauce and ground beef, kids are always asking for seconds when this dish is on the menu. It makes us feel great when they ask for seconds, and we love that they’re filling up so that they’ll be energized to tackle the upcoming week. In our homemade sloppy joe casserole recipe, there are a few differences from the typical sandwich—namely, you’ll be losing the buns, and the kids will need to pick up a fork to dig in. It’s just as exciting, though, and it still has all that you remember (and appreciate) about the traditional recipe. It takes what we love about homemade sloppy joes—the flavor, the fun, the easy prep—and turns it into a simple weeknight dinner. The only thing you’ll love more than the reaction from your family is the quick prep time. It brings its own fun to the table. When they’re eating sloppy joe casserole, kids can pretend that they’re at summer camp, even if there’s still geometry homework to do.
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 cups shredded Muenster cheese
2 hamburger buns, finely chopped
Garnish: fresh parsley leaves
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cook macaroni 3 minutes less than package directions. Drain. Set aside.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking into pieces, until browned, about 6 minutes. Drain grease, return meat to pan. Stir in bell pepper, onion, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring often, until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, dry mustard, and 1 1/2 cups water; stir to combine, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add pasta to meat mixture and stir to combine. Pour into a lightly greased 7 x 11-inch casserole dish. Top evenly with cheese. Sprinkle with bread pieces and bake at 375° 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.