Boy # 4 started back to school today. The first day of his last year of high school and the first of many lasts for us this year. His older brothers will return to their respective colleges within the next couple of weeks. Summer is officially winding down.
I always like to plan a special menu full of good, hearty, kid friendly (or teenage boy friendly) meals for the first week of school that are centered around the boys and cater to their tastes. Meals like this are much needed after the stress, excitement, and first day jitters that inevitably come each new school year. And somehow it makes me feel better too. This recipe is a great one to feed your hungry Back to Schoolers and it’s also a great choice for all those upcoming school potlucks or banquets.
I came across a similar recipe a loooonnnnggg time ago in a magazine that no longer exists. It was called Hometown Cooking, from the folks at Better Homes & Gardens. I’m still trying to get over the fact that this magazine is no longer published. It was my favorite cooking magazine and every issue had a gazillion recipes I wanted to try. I still refer back to issues that are now over 10 years old, for inspiration.
The recipe calls for Sloppy Joe filling so I use my all time favorite, hands down, no contest cause it’s the winner, recipe for Cajun Sloppy Joe’s. I didn’t bother to do step by step photos back when I did the original post so we’re going to take care of that right now.
Did I mention it was good?
Grab a great big pan or you could use a Dutch oven. Add 2 pounds ground beef, the chopped onion and bell pepper. Cook and stir this, smashing the beef with your spoon, until no pink remains. Drain the grease from the pan and return it to the heat.
In go the remaining filling ingredients – tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, brown sugar, Creole or Cajun Seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground pepper. I use about 1 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper for a little bit of a kick. If your kids are especially sensitive to heat you can reduce this to 1/2 teaspoon.
Stir it until it is well combined and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. It will cook down and thicken up a little bit.
Time to preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a 13″ x 9″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. Open one of the tubes of crescent roll dough, unroll it and place it in the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing with your fingers to push it down into the pan and close the seams. Don’t worry if it’s not pretty – we’re going to cover this layer up with lots of good stuff and no one will ever see it.
Now spoon the delicious filling over the top of the crescent roll dough and sprinkle it with cheese.
Pop open the second tube of crescent roll dough, carefully unroll it and place it over the top of the filling and cheese. Lightly press together the seams. You’ll still be able to see the seams, there just shouldn’t be any open gaps. Brush a little bit of milk over the top.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and place the pan in the preheated 425 degree oven.
Bake it for 13 to 15 minutes, or till nicely golden brown.
Put a plate of this in front of them and ask them about their day. If you have a son, and he says more than three words in response, you are truly blessed.
Sloppy Joe Squares
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (adjust amount as needed)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough
- 1 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, onions, and bell pepper until meat crumbles and no pink remains. Drain well and return skillet to heat.
Add tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, Creole seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground pepper. Stir well to combine and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and spray a 13 x 9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Press one can of the crescent roll dough into the prepared pan, pressing with your fingers to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the Sloppy Joe mixture on top of the dough in pan and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Carefully place the 2nd sheet of crescent roll dough on top of the cheese, lightly pressing the seams together and pulling the dough out to the edges of the pan. Brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake, uncovered, for 13 to 15 minutes till nicely golden brown. Serve immediately.