Junior Joes Recipe

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Junior Joes Recipe


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 can tomato paste (6 ounce can)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 packages of frozen Parker House Rolls


Step 1
Pull your ground beef out of the fridge so it's not too cold once you're ready to cook. Preheat a skillet over just below medium heat. If you're using parker house rolls, preheat your oven according to the package directions for them as well.

While your pan and oven are heating up, mince the onion and pepper. Green is the traditional pepper of choice in sloppy joes. However, we are a non-traditional, green bell pepper hating kind of family. All that considered, pick your favorite bell pepper color and mince the life out of it!
Step 2
Once you're minced and the skillet feels hot to your hovering hand, add a tablespoon of olive oil.

Toss in the peppers and onions.
Step 3
Saute around 4 minutes, or until the minced combo looks translucent and softened.
Step 4
Plunk your ground beef or turkey into the skillet.

I don't know why I enjoy seeing it in this big blob, but I do!
Step 5
Use a sturdy spatula or spoon to break up your blob into smaller bits.
Step 6
Continue to brown the meat and break it up into smaller pieces for around 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over the meat.
Step 7
Scoop out about half the can of tomato paste, and add it to the meat mix.

I didn't measure, but this is what half of a can looks like.
Step 8
Work the tomato paste into the meat until it's completely incorporated.

Next add in the whole can of tomato sauce, the worcestershire, and the sugar.
Step 9
Stir it all together, and reduce the heat to medium low.

Step 10
Once the sloppy joe sauce is bubbly, set your timer for 20 minutes. Apart from an occasional stir, all the sauce needs now is to simmer and thicken.

This is when I put my frozen rolls into the oven. Most of the frozen parker house rolls I've used go into a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes. But definitely cook them according to your package directions.

Even frozen they look cute!

Step 11
Your sloppy sauce should be thick enough to leave a wide trail behind your spatula as it scrapes along the pan. If it's been at least 20 minutes, and your sauce is looking like this then it's time to cut the heat!
Step 12
Now it's just a matter of assembling these delicious little sammies!

Here's my son Wyatt's plate.
Step 13
I realize all three year olds eat differently. Heck, even the same three year old will eat differently from one meal to the next. But I have to say that he ate his entire plate of food happily!
Step 14
I hope that your family enjoys these tasty little Joes as much as mine did!