The deliciousness of sloppy joes, all without needing any buns! Grain-free winning! A one-skillet meal that is incredibly kid friendly! Anything that has ketchup and is topped with crispy tater tots is sure to win over any child under the age of 99. Gluten, dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut free–this is also great for those with food allergies and dietary restrictions that want a filling casserole without a lot of work.
Sloppy joes were in regular rotation at my house growing up. However, sadly–I’ve not been able to incorporate it at my house, since I have yet to find a bun that works for my son’s food allergies. (PS–if you can find me a bun that is wheat, dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, oatmeal, buckwheat, millet free–I will give you a big ol’ hug! ) I got desperate one time and tried it with just his regular bread, and it was so, so sad and falling apart.
So, this recipe was practically a God-send.
My son loves potatoes and all variations of them, so I knew the tater-tots would be a win-win. Add to the bottom of it a ketchup-like sauce and we were golden. Both of my children have been known to eat ketchup plain (EWW!!) so I broke out the ingredients and had a sigh of relief that for this would be a meal I wouldn’t have to argue with them about.
It’s mom-friendly too, as it only takes one pan, and it sneaks in a few vegetables.
This makes a ton (at least for my small family) and for once my boys were eating leftovers! My husband and I are HUGE into leftovers. I mean–I literally don’t know what it’s like to make lunch. I just eat leftovers pretty much every day of my life. (#Confessions) If I’m going to go to a lot of trouble at night, I sure as heck don’t want to go to that much trouble twice in one day. My microwave, tupperware and I are best friends. But–my kids have yet to see the light. They’ll do it sometimes, with a few of their other favorites like Asian Quinoa Meatballs, or lemon garlic tilapia (recipe coming soon!) but that’s about it. I was so glad to have another leftover they’ll gladly eat. As per their request–I put a fresh drizzle of ketchup on it and they both gobble up big portions.
And, it may be my Idaho roots, but I LOVE ME a good casserole. Hello comfort food. But, I feel like 99% of them depend on layers of cheese to make them edible. Seriously, just google “casserole” and you’ll see all sorts of cheesey pictures (both literally and figuratively). So, I was glad that this packed enough sauce and flavor to not need that anaphylactic-inducing ingredient.
Finally, we cannot do beef, so I used ground chicken (plus much healthier) but if that’s what you want to use, it’s great too!
Break out that cast iron skillet and set the oven to broil, it’s time to get your sloppy joe on!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- One 16 ounce can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce*make sure this is gluten free, as some are not!
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- One 1 pound 12 oz pound package of frozen, seasoned tater tots *see note
- Take the tater tots out to thaw while you prep the rest of the dinner.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Using a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the chicken, onions and bell pepper and cook until the chicken is done and the vegetables are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the tater tots and mix well.
- Use ¾ to the entire bag (depending on how much you want) of the tater tots on top.
- Place in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the tater tots are cooked through. You don't have to worry about the sauce, since you cooked the chicken through already, you're just letting those flavors meld.
- Once the tots are cooked, turn on your broil and move the casserole pan to the top shelf. Allow the broiler to really crisp and brown your tots to your liking.
- Serve with additional ketchup, if desired. Leftovers keep well for several days in an air-tight container.
Adapted from: Real House Moms