Racing Rachael: 30 Minute Grand Slam

Sloppy Joes. When I told my husband that was this week's meal, his response was, "Of course you'll be done in 30 minutes. All you have to do is open a can." True, the Sloppy Joes of childhood always involved a can opener, but with that came the inevitably terrible taste. Luckily for me, my mom was violently opposed to canned food, and so Sloppy Joes did not make it onto our table often. Will Rachael Ray's version bring Sloppy Joes back to my table? Read on to find out.

The food: Sloppy Joe Di Maggios and Corny Salad. Ugghh. I detest those ridiculous names! I'll try not to hold that against the food, but I certainly hold it against Rachael.

Since Sloppy Joes were not a childhood staple, I don't have that warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia about them. This "Di Maggio" version includes both ground beef and, yup, you guessed it, hot dogs in the mix. What non-health-conscious kid wouldn't love that? These were solid Joes, but I felt that additional sauce would have enhanced the flavor and helped make them sufficiently sloppy.


The corn salad (I refuse to refer to it as corny salad) was a refreshing, light side, which we certainly needed to offset our artery-clogging entree. This mix of chopped baby spinach, corn, red bell peppers and red onions, dressed with a simple lime juice-based dressing, would also be a great appetizer served with hearty tortilla chips. It was very limey, so if that is not a favorite flavor, you may want to skip this one.

The time: 32 minutes, which included three minutes of corn shucking. If you're living large and buying the pretty package of pre-schucked corn, 30 minutes is no sweat. I also must confess that I loaded my grocery list into my jazzy new smartphone, but forgot to add the tomato sauce, so I had to stop cooking midway and run to the store. Needless to say, I was a bit rattled and probably not focusing on the speed of cooking! Damn that iPhone!

The verdict: There are definitely no nutrition awards going out for this one. But the flavor was pretty good, and the salad made me feel a little less guilty about feeding this one to my family. This meal won't be going into the regular rotation, but it may be pulled out on occasion. And it's almost as easy as opening the can.

Ways to beat the clock: You don't need to! This one is really is a 30-minute meal.

Happy speedy cooking!

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Carrie Applegate Jaeger