Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Sloppy Joe Pasta

I'm sure I've probably mentioned this before, but when I first moved out completely on my own (no roommates, no significant other, no nothing) I couldn't cook anything. I ate a lot of prepackaged shit and boiled a lot of pasta noodles (but miraculously didn't gain 75 lbs!).

I brought that up because today's recipe reminded me of an "elevated" Hamburger Helper. I used to eat that shit all the time (more than I'd like to admit). But trust me when I say that this is much much better.

I won't claim I make everything from scratch these days because, seriously, ain't nobody got time for that. But, when I can, I like to make my own sauces. It makes me feel a little more accomplished when I put something together myself (as opposed to dumping it out of a can or jar). 

This Sloppy Joe Pasta is exactly what it sounds like: all the flavors of a sloppy joe combined with pasta. I like sloppy joes, but I don't really like eating them because I always seem to squish a lot of the sauce and meat out of the bun (and usually onto myself). This meal at least allows me to enjoy those flavors without so much mess. And, as an added bonus, I made the sauce myself! 

If you don't cook very much and feel intimidated by making your own sauces, please know that all of the things I post here are relatively easy. This sauce was especially easy ... The most difficult/time consuming part was chopping the vegetables. Once that's out of the way, it's smooth sailing.

 photo SloppyJoePasta_zpsbzinpx3x.jpg

Sloppy Joe Pasta

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Taste and Tell.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 package rotini 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced (about 1-1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (You can also use regular paprika if you don't keep smoked paprika on hand.)
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Diced green onions for serving, if desired


1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the rotini according to the package directions. Drain the pasta when it has finished cooking.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, and sea salt. Set aside.

3.  Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the diced white onion and green bell pepper, cooking until the vegetables have softened slightly (about 5-7 minutes).

4.  Add the garlic, cooking until just fragrant (about 30 seconds to 1 minute).

5.  Add the ground beef, cumin, smoked paprika, and ground mustard to the skillet. Cook the meat until no pink remains, breaking it up as it cooks and stirring occasionally to mix it with the vegetables, garlic, and spices.

6.  Once the beef is completely cooked through, turn the heat to low and add the drained pasta. Stir several times to coat the pasta with the meat sauce.

7.  Add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese a little at a time (I added about 1/2 cup at a time or so), stirring well with each addition to melt the cheese in with the pasta and sauce. After the cheese has melted throughout, top with diced green onions (if desired).


  1. Sounds tasty! I wonder if I could get John to try it, he's not a big fan of cheese.

  2. this looks so good! i have seen hamburger helper before but never tried it - though i am 100% sure we had the equivalent at home that we grew up on, no shame. i can't bring myself to buy something when i know how bad it is (well, that doesn't include sweets or whatever haha) or when i know i can make it myself. but i had no idea how to make it myself, so thank you for sharing! i pinned this, hopefully i'll make it!