Years ago, when our hungry teenage boys came home for dinner (with hungry friends tagging along) it was a challenge to feed them all with one pan of Sloppy Joe's. Unexpected "guests" at the dinner table were fun, but required some quick thinking, so I "stretched" this simple but tried and true recipe, by adding kidney beans, extra shredded veggies and cheese. It was always a big hit. Necessity is the mother of invention I guess, thank goodness for versatile recipes like this one.

 These days, with the kids all gone, I still make full size batches of Sloppy Joes but I freeze the extra in quart freezer bags. I put the leftover meat into the bag, removing as much of the air as possible, then patting the meat into a 1" thick flat shape before freezing it (this thin "disk" of Sloppy Joe filling thaws out quickly). I love "instant" meals like this. 

1 pound lean ground beef (I use 90% lean)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup shredded carrot
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/8 (to)1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Cook the hamburger and vegetables together until meat is no longer pink (chopping up the meat as it cooks) (drain meat well).

Stir in remaining ingredients (except buns). Simmer on med-low for about 20 minutes (to reduce the consistency of the sauce, but don't let it get too dry). Fill the hamburger buns with the beef mixture and serve.

NOTE: After this is cooked, it keeps well in the crockpot (on low) if your dinner hour is uncertain.

NOTE: I serve these with a slice of cheese under the meat mixture and a squirt of yellow mustard on top of the filling (our favorite).

NOTE: I make this with an 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne because picky-picky husband is VERY SHY when it comes to heat/spice in his food. If you like a little more spark in your sandwich, use 1/4 teaspoon.