Beef/ Gluten Free/ Italian/ Sandwiches & Such

Italian Sloppy Joes

Italian Sloppy Joes – Sloppy Giuseppes are how they are affectionately known around my house.  Seasoned ground beef with onions and peppers with a tomato base then covered in provolone cheese until it is melty delicious.

Italian Sloppy Joes ~ The Complete Savorist

Hi everyone, I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be back with you all. It’s been a very long two weeks. I did some cooking before I left, this dish being one of the items I created and had intended to share with you while I was on vacation.

But my vacation started 5 days early with a very early morning phone call to return to California immediately. My grandfather, a man I love like a father, took ill suddenly. My grandmother did not summon me lightly. From 4:30 am until I arrived in California at 7:30 pm, I had numerous calls telling me to get home, NOW.

I happened to be out of town when that call came. I was staying at friends’ place with her kids while she was on a weekend getaway for her anniversary. Made frantic arrangements for her children and I rushed home to pack. I was not ready to leave for California. In my packing haste, I packed two pairs of pants and 8 shirts. My daughter had 12 pairs of underpants. To say I was frazzled was an understatement.

The airport

Obligatory airport shot pulling her own luggage.

Sleeping Beauty

Fell asleep on the plane

Gratefully, I was able to see my grandfather that night, the ICU has no set visiting hours.

The next morning, after talking to the doctors, things were grim. We were told there was no hope. We needed to prepare. I hate that word…prepare. I prepare food.  I prepare the laundry to be washed. I prepare for the next morning by setting out Elizabeth’s school clothes and getting the coffee ready. One cannot PREPARE for the passing of a beloved family member. I know logically what the doctor was saying but there was no way to prepare for this when just 48 hours earlier we were talking about the upcoming trip to Disneyland for my daughter’s 5th birthday. To go from a big family outing to Disneyland to death in 48 hours was just too much.


Holding Hands Photo credit: My cousin Stephanie

Luckily, he heard the doctors talk to my grandmother and me.  He did not like what he heard, so he fought. He fought like his life depended on it because it did. I am so happy that the dress I wore last in 2012 to my grandmother’s funeral remained in the protective dry cleaning plastic. Soon, my grandfather will return home, where he belongs. I know that he will not live forever, that one day, he will pass on, as everyone does, but that day has been extended a bit longer and for that, my heart sings.

As my grandfather’s health improved, he and my grandmother told me that we must keep the plans we made for our vacation. My grandparents would not hear otherwise. I maybe be an adult, but when my grandparents give a command, well, arguing is an exercise in futility.


Lots of waiting in the waiting room

I was able to spend time with my extended paternal family members for dinner one night at a piano bar. I was called up to the stage, told to sit atop the piano and was serenaded to…this place would get a hard R rating, maybe NC-17, so the serenade was hilariously embarrassing. But those who know me, know I loved it. And Elizabeth was introduced (properly) to In and Out Burgers.

Fun with Family at Piano Piano

Kristine, me and Nena

In and Out

Half of a double double is just a double?

On Mother’s Day we held a joint luncheon for her birthday and Mother’s day. Elizabeth enjoyed all the time she got to spend with her cousin Ethan. Due to the circumstances with my grandfather, they got to spend even more time together than we had initially planned. Ethan is 15 months younger then Elizabeth but taller….but they were downright adorable to watch playing.

Frozen Fun

Presents-Grandma taken unaware of the camera in her direction

Us Girls

Me, Stephanie, and Ashley


Ethan and Elizabeth blowing bubbles

The whole reason for the trip originally was to go to Disneyland and my Disney obsessed daughter loved it….once we were there, but initially, well she wasn’t so pleased when I came in at 6:30 to wake her up.

She'll hate me one day for posting this picture.

Not exactly an early riser

Walt and Mickey with US

Me, Elizabeth, Walt, and Mickey

E and E going to the castle

Ethan and Elizabeth hand in hand to the castle

Auntie Steph and the Rocketeers

Ethan, Elizabeth and Aunt Stephanie in a rocket

Two grown ups on a kiddie ride

Ashley and I squeezed into a kiddie ride.

Now, back to this recipe. I love sloppy joes, in any format. This Italian version utterly fantastic. Think of your favorite meat sauce, but thicker, deeper flavored and chunkier. Once cooked and the provolone is added and begins to melt, it was hard to even make it to the rolls…I kept eating it by the spoonful right out of the pan.

Italian Sloppy Joes ~ The Complete Savorist

Italian Sloppy Joes

Author: Michelle


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion; diced
  • 1 green bell pepper; diced
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced/grated
  • 1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 tsp salt and pepper; to taste
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 5 slices deli-sliced provolone cheese
  • 5-8 buns
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a large 12" skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the hot pan.
  3. Cook the vegetables for about 3 minutes or until the begin to soften.
  4. Crumble in the ground beef and cook until the meat is mostly cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the salt, pepper, and half the basil. Mix well.
  6. One the meat is cooked, drain off any rendered fat; about 4 minutes.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, and the remaining basil.
  8. Bring to a bubbling simmer and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  9. Once the liquid has reduced, lower the heat to low and top with deli slices of provolone cheese.
  10. Allow the cheese to melt, about 2 minutes.
  11. Serve in your favorite bun/roll.

Meat filling for Italian Sloppy Joes ~ The Complete SavoristMelted Provolone Cheese for Italian Sloppy Joes ~ The Complete SavoristItalian Sloppy Joes ~ The Complete Savorist

Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply
    Katie @ Recipe for Perfection
    May 18, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Your daughter is a cutie! Looks like Disneyland was a blast. I like the looks of this recipe- it’d make a great weeknight meal!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you Katie, I think she is a cutie too.

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    May 18, 2015 at 5:08 am

    5 stars
    I’m happy you’re back and safe and sound; this sandwich loos DIVINE! Beautiful job!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks Dan, we are happy to be home too.

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    May 18, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Not going to lie, I missed seeing your face around these parts but I forgive you coming back with this stellar of a recipe and your photos…amazing!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Hehehe, Thanks Arman, I missed you too.

  • Reply
    Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
    May 18, 2015 at 5:20 am

    What a powerful post! I am so sorry about your loss but what a beautiful story.

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Gratefully, he is still with us.

  • Reply
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour)
    May 18, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I am really glad you didn’t have to use that dress yet! And also glad you shared these, I haven’t had sloppy joes in years!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Thank you Kim, I am happy too that I didn’t have to wear it. Sloppy Joes are just so childlike, the remind me of childhood.

  • Reply
    Ali @ Home & Plate
    May 18, 2015 at 6:48 am

    My boys are big fans of sloppy joes. I will have to try this recipe. This recipe looks easy to make and yummy.

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Super easy to make Ali, and if they like meat sauce, they will love this.

  • Reply
    nibbles by nic
    May 18, 2015 at 6:53 am

    So you just took this classic comfort to a whole new level! so impressed! Love! -Nic

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you Nic, that’s sweet.

  • Reply
    Brandy M
    May 18, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I am SO sorry to hear about your grandfather. I loss all mine along time ago so I know the feeling. This recipe though looks AWESOME! What a great idea! This is going to be added to my menu plan for this month!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you Brandy, I am so grateful he is still here. Long road of recovery ahead, but still here.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2015 at 9:35 am

    You had so much going on! So sorry about your grandfather, that is difficult to say the least. It’s hard to transition to talking about you sloppy joes, but boy do they look good!

  • Reply
    Alisa - Go Dairy Free
    May 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I’m so glad your grandfather was okay Michelle! I agree with Tanya, the transition is sticky, but those sloppy joes really do look good! Though not exactly the same, I’ve got some dairy-free provolone in need of testing – this may be the recipe!

  • Reply
    Holly N @ Spend With Pennies
    May 18, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    What a fun twist on sloppy joes… my whole family will love this one!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Beautiful story about your grandfather and pictures. Your sloppy joys look so good and easy to make. I use to make them when my daughters were young and now I think I will be making them again.

    • Reply
      May 19, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      I think you and your not-so young daughters would enjoy them…maybe. Unless they are picky….and they are. I know them. 😉

  • Reply
    Sandi Gaertner (@sandigtweets)
    May 19, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I am so glad your grandfather is doing better. You come from fighting stock 🙂 Disney looks like so much fun, wish you ventured a bit more north up to the Bay Area. Now onto those amazing sandwiches. Judging by the drool near my keyboard, these would be a recipe I have to make…soon.

  • Reply
    May 21, 2015 at 1:31 am

    5 stars
    What a lovely post to read and I enjoyed seeing the photos. Hope your granddad gets better soon and strong again 🙂

    • Reply
      May 21, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you so much Mary.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Tammy
    May 24, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I am so happy to hear about your grandfather’s recovery! And it looked like you had so much fun on your trip 🙂

    These sloppy joes look AMAZING — I am embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t think my daughter has ever eaten a sloppy joe — that’s going to have to change!

    • Reply
      May 24, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      They are a classic American. She needs to try them at least once and if you use lean beef, they can be healthy.

  • Reply
    Healing Tomato
    May 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    5 stars
    What a wonderful and delicious post. I am happy to hear that your Grandpa is doing better now. Wish him a speedy rehab

  • Reply
    Italian Succotash - The Complete Savorist
    October 31, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    […] a few other recipes that aren’t traditionally Italian, but have the Italian flair. Italian Sloppy Joes Slow Cooker Ratatouille Pasta Chicken, Barley, and Basil Soup « Chicken Paprika […]

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