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Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes

My grandma absolutely loves Italian food, so I decided to make a twist on classic sloppy joe sandwiches just for her. The mozzarella and tomato sauce are classic, and red peppers make it fun. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 4 hours
  • Makes
    8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each ) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 16 slices smoked mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 pound)
  • 8 hoagie buns, split and toasted
  • Pickled hot cherry peppers, optional

Directions

  • In a large skillet, cook and crumble sausage with red pepper and onion over medium-high heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a 3- or 4-qt. slow cooker.
  • In same pan, cook and crumble beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add beef to slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder and, if desired, liquid smoke. Cook, covered, on low until flavors are blended, 4-5 hours.
  • To serve, place cheese on bun bottoms; top with meat mixture and, if desired, peppers. Close sandwiches.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled meat mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.
Nutrition Facts
1 sandwich: 661 calories, 35g fat (14g saturated fat), 121mg cholesterol, 1231mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 42g protein.

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