Sloppy Joe Casserole
Did you know I love casseroles? I do. I love how you can change up everything how you want. You could say this one is slightly trashy, but it reminds me of my childhood. Sloppy Joes were one of my favorite cafeteria meals, and one of my favorite things my Nanny used to make for me when I would visit. The advantages to a casserole version are that it’s not so sloppy, and you can make the whole thing ahead of time! I also swap out ground beef for turkey (but you can do what you want), and I always use whole wheat pasta. So it’s not too unhealthy.
I really don’t like adding eggs to casseroles if I can help it, but since this sauce is not at all creamy, it really does need the eggs to bind the casserole and keep it moist. If I were making a casserole or baked pasta with a creamy sauce, I could either sneak a little mayo in to act as a binder or even use cream cheese (because that usually works too). But Sloppy Joes should be tangy, with a cheese accent, not creamy all the way through. Right?
Total Time: 2 hours (hands-on time: 35 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Easy
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 ¼ pound lean ground turkey
1 pound whole wheat macaroni
3 cups ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 green bell peppers, diced
6 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
6 ounces freshly grated Monterrey jack cheese
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil heats up, add the diced onion, and saute until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey, and brown until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and salt, and cook the pasta. Drain, and set aside.
- Once the turkey is cooked, add the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, hot sauce, and diced tomatoes. Simmer over medium low for 8-10 minutes, until sauce has slightly thickened.
- Add the pasta, turkey mixture, and diced green bell pepper to a large bowl. Allow it to come to room temperature (or stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes) before adding the other ingredients. (You don’t want to melt the cheese or cook the eggs as you’re mixing.)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the pasta mixture has cooled, add the grated cheeses. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Add the eggs, and mix to combine.
- Spread the casserole out evenly in the casserole dishes. It should fill one full-sized (9×13) pan plus one half-sized (8×8) pan.
- Sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs and dried parsley evenly over the casserole.
- Cover, and bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Uncover, and continue to bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.