Mediterranean-style Sloppy Joe Sliders

medstylesloppyjoeIt’s a common dish in grade school cafeterias, summer camp mess halls and on those nights when mom doesn’t feel like making a big production out of dinner, but it’s time that old favorite grew up a bit.

Here’s a simple, fresh take on Sloppy Joes that packages a dose of nostalgia with a Mediterranean twist. It’s great to make on its own, or as a way to spruce up last night’s leftovers.

(Or, if you’re in the dining hall and the menu is looking a bit dull, you can grab a pre-made Sloppy Joe and then head to the salad bar to grab the feta — or blue cheese crumbles — and if salsa’s not there, just use a butter knife to dice up some bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions and mix those in with a dash of hot sauce!)

Utensils required: tablespoon, frying pan, pot, stirring spoon, colander, stove, (or you can nix the frying pan and stove if you’re using pre-made Sloppy Joes from the dining hall), knife, cutting board

Ingredients (makes 6 full-size sandwiches, or 24 sliders):

1 can of Sloppy Joe sauce (like Manwich brand)

1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 container of fresh salsa (the chopped kind, not the pureed salsa; I use Italian Rose Fresh Salsa)

1 container of crumbled feta cheese

1 package of Kaiser, onion or Hoagie rolls (okay, fine, you can be boring and use traditional hamburger buns, but fresh bakery breads tend to add a more gourmet taste and texture)

Time commitment: 15-18 minutes to make the traditional Sloppy Joes and 3-5 minutes to add in our fresh twist on the old favorite

Steps:

1. Prepare the Sloppy Joe according to the directions on the can. This will typically involve browning the beef on the frying pan and draining it of any excess grease, then putting it in a pot and pouring in the Sloppy Joe sauce and letting it simmer on low heat for about 7-9 minutes.

2. Next, add in five tablespoons of salsa for each sandwich (or set of four sliders). Make sure you drain the salsa of most of its juices before adding it to the Sloppy Joes so the mixture doesn’t get runny. You can do this by pressing the spoon to the side of the salsa container and letting some of the juice spill out.

If you’re going to use up all of your Sloppy Joe mixture to make the Mediterranean sliders, use 30 tablespoons, or about 1 3/4 cups of lightly drained salsa.

3. Next, add two tablespoons of crumbled feta for each full-sized sandwich (AKA – four sliders). If you’re using all of the Sloppy Joe mix, that’s about 3/4 cup.

4. Thoroughly mix all of your ingredients.

5. Now carefully slice each Kaiser roll (or whatever rolls you’re using) in half. Scoop some of our revamped Sloppy Joe mix onto the buns, and then cut the sandwich into quarters for easy, bite-sized sliders. If you’re preparing for a party, secure each slider with a toothpick so they can be easily moved without falling apart.

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