Sloppy Joes - Middle School Culinary Throwdown

Sixth Grade Culinary Throwdown

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Will he cook? To be sure! Will he be a cook? I suspect not. His smile, for a least another year, is blinding bright, but it's a perfect match for an upbeat disposition, that as yet, shows no signs of teenage angst. He loves numbers and music and, having seen Wright's Falling Waters, concluded he would like to be an architect. His fallback plan, at least this year, is plasma physics. Zach is my oldest grandson. His love of food and cooking has convinced me that there is a recessive gene for food that scientists have yet to identify. There has to be an inherited component to this addiction we pass on to our children. Zach is wearing chef's whites, because food service providers in his school district sponsored a culinary "throwdown" and invited seventh graders to participate. Zach loves to cook and was one of the first of his classmates to register for the competition. The book of life will show their dishes took no prizes, but they won hearts and the team spirit award for their congeniality. That's my guy!

Our children and grandchildren learn to cook at an early age. It starts with pancakes on Saturday morning and they graduate to more involved cooking as they get older. This summer, I've worked on recipes the older grandchildren can make on their own while they're visiting with us. While the dishes are easy to prepare, they are also delicious and I hope the boys will have fun making them. I won't be posting most of them because they are so simple to make, that I'm afraid I'll offend you. You can be sure that those that make it to One Perfect Bite are "best of show" and will work well, especially for those of you who will be feeding teens this summer. Here's the first recipe I want to share with you.

Sloppy Joes
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
8 sandwich buns, split


1) Cook beef and onion in a large skillet set over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain.
2) Stir in ketchup, water, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard, chili powder and allspice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
3) Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each bun. Yield: 8 servings.

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