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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Sloppy Joes: A quick, comforting taste of childhood

Thursday, July 20, 2000

Tested by Suzanne Martinson

Sloppy Joes . . . how many years has it been? Much too long for a supper that speaks so much of home. There are probably as many ways to make this old family favorite as there are cooks. Patricia Peters, who has lived in Bellevue for many years, shares a tasty one for Countdown to Dinner this week.

She got the recipe from her husband's aunt. "This aunt worked in a school cafeteria for Clearfield. She would come up with such simple, good recipes. She was my mentor."

It is quick and delicious. "Served with a tossed salad and/or fruit, it makes a nice lunch or light dinner," she says.

Husband John is a semiretired tax accountant, and Patricia is a retired assistant preschool teacher who worked for North Boros YMCA "Y-Tots."

She keeps her hand in teaching at Bellevue Church of the Assumption, where for 20 years she has taught first-grade CCD (the letters stand for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes. "It keeps me young," she says.

She has a grown, married son and daughter and five grandchildren. She says her son liked the Sloppy Joes recipe, and it might be one that would please the grandchildren, too.

We loved it, though even ample appetites like ours couldn't have considered it as serving four. Patricia agreed that six might be more like it.

She uses super-lean ground beef and drains it well. (We had purchased some regular ground beef on sale and found that we had almost a cup of fat and juices when it was browned and drained.)

It came in well under the 30-minute deadline, making it a good quick supper for when Patricia comes home from volunteering at Suburban General in Bellevue.

And there aren't many dishes to wash, so she can get back to her reading.

Sloppy Joes

2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 can Campbell's tomato soup, undiluted
1/3 cup ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef and onion (we used nearly 1/4 cup) in skillet. Mix in flour. Add rest of ingredients. Heat to boiling and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Spoon into 4 split hamburger buns. (We found it makes 5 or 6 generous servings.)

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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