190518_life_classic sloppy joes

Busy families often find it hard to serve fresh and quickly prepared meals. But before pulling up to the nearest drive-through window, family chefs should know that many homecooked meals can be whipped up in a pinch.

During barbecue season, burgers are often a go-to meal for their convenience and portability. But another bun- and beef-based option is readily available and it could stir up nostalgia for comforting family meals of years past.

It’s hard to beat the savory flavor and deliciously messy trappings of Sloppy Joes. As the name implies, this isn’t a meal for someone who likes to keep things neat. In fact, part of the fun of Sloppy Joes, for adults and children alike, is the chance to get a little messy at the dinner table. Here’s a recipe for “Classic Sloppy Joes,” courtesy of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

(Serves 4)

1 pound ground beef (93% lean or leaner)

1 cup minced sweet onion

1 cup minced green bell pepper

1 can (141/2 ounces) unsalted tomato sauce

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

4 whole wheat hamburger buns or 8 slider buns

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, cook 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Add ground beef and bell pepper; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking beef into 1/2-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and mustard; increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil; cook 5 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, as desired.

Divide beef mixture evenly among buns. Top with pickles, coleslaw and cheese, if desired. Close the sandwiches.

Cook’s Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.