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