Better-Than-A-Sloppy Joe _lowres

Better-Than-A-Sloppy Joe

This is an easy sandwich idea that's similar to homemade sloppy Joes, but better.

Instead of piling the meat onto buns, where everything falls out with the first bite, sandwich filling is spread on split loaves of French or Italian bread.

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Once the sandwich is put together, it's wrapped tightly in foil and baked until it's heated through.

Better-Than-A-Sloppy Joe

Makes 2 loaves. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

½ bell pepper, chopped

½ cup ketchup

1½ cups tomato sauce

¼ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon dried basil

Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

⅓ cup butter, room temperature

1 clove garlic, pressed

2 loaves French or Italian bread, cut in half lengthwise

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté ground beef with onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook until meat is no longer pink and vegetables begin to soften.

2. Add ketchup, tomato sauce, cheese, garlic powder, fennel seed, Italian seasoning and dried basil. Season with salt and peppers to taste. Since this is a filling on bread, you want it a little spicy. Simmer, uncovered, on a slow boil for about 15 minutes or until some of the liquid has cooked out and it is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, in separate small bowl, add butter and garlic. Stir to blend well, then spread evenly over cut surfaces of both loaves of bread.

4. Sprinkle mozzarella over bottom halves of each loaf.

5. Spoon filling over the cheese and place top half on loaf.

6. Wrap each loaf securely in foil.

7. Place in preheated 350 f oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Slice into sandwiches and serve hot.

Cook’s cookbook, "Extra! Extra! Read MORE About It!," is available at Barnes & Noble or by calling (225) 293-9770.