Another meal I like to make ahead and put in the freezer is sloppy joes. Depending on your region, they may also be known as yum-yums. While it's convenient to open a can or jar of pre-made stuff, a former co-worker gave me this recipe:
1 lb hamburger
one onion, more or less, chopped
one green bell pepper, more or less, chopped
1 can tomato soup, undiluted
1/4 c ketchup
1 T mustard
1 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Brown hamburger, onion, and green pepper, drain. (Can saute onion and green pepper separately.) Add remaining ingredients, and heat through. Can also make up and put in a crock pot on low for a few hours for a potluck.
Last night, I decided to make up five pounds of hamburger for sloppy joes, since that's what will fit in the biggest skillet that I have. There was a minor incident, but that's another post.
I use my potato masher (pictured above, obtained at an antique store!) to break up hamburger as it browns. Being a recovering vegetarian, I prefer meat to be in small chunks. I started with frozen hamburger, so I added some water to create steam and help thaw the meat on all sides. (ooh, that'll be my Kitchen Tip Tuesday post for the week!)
Once the hamburger was all browned, I drained it. If I'd have thought ahead more, I'd have chopped and sauteed the onions and green peppers (the latter of which, by the way, I forgot to buy). I didn't, so I just added some onion powder when I stirred in the rest of the ingredients. I found I was short on ketchup, but added a bit more brown sugar for sweetness and it's just a little less soupy. I have frequently used green peppers from our garden that I have chopped and frozen with good results. I just happen to be out of last year's peppers. (This really is exactly how my life goes.)
Quintupling the recipe (times five, right?), I ended up with three 3-cup packages for the freezer, three cups that I put in the refrigerator to eat this week, and about another cup or cup and a half that we ate last night. Plus I only had to wash dishes once!
What's your favorite recipe for sloppy joes? While I like this recipe, I'd prefer to get away from using the tomato soup. I have tried tomato soup recipes but neither Hubs nor I care much for tomato soup by itself. Plus I'm not sure if I've seen a recipe for the condensed version in quantity - i.e. one that is meant to be preserved and diluted when consumed later. (Mom, you should click through and leave the recipe for EJ's Yum Yums. I don't remember what's in them!)