Feeding your Mardi Gras crowd

Feeding Your Mardi Gras Crowd

As we enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities, don't forget basic food safety.  Here are some tips to remember and a Really Easy Sloppy Joe recipe that you can make ahead for your Mardi Gras parties.  P.S. You don't have to wait for a parade to use the recipe.  It makes a great economical dinner you can serve a variety of ways any day of the week. Read on for more meal ideas.

Feeding a Crowd Safely

  • Wash hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use tongs, spoons, forks, etc., to prevent bare handed contact. Improperly washed hands can spread germs like wildfire.
  • Keep hot foods hot. Use a slow cooker, grill, or insulated container to keep the foods above 140 degrees or throw out the food if it has been in the danger zone (40-140 degrees) for more than 2 hours.
  • Keep cold foods cold. Keep cold foods in insulated containers or in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Be sure to use cold packs or ice to keep foods cold. Throw out the food if it has been in the danger zone (40-140 degrees) for more than 2 hours.
  • Don't use the ice from around the beverages to put in drinks. Hands have been in the ice reaching and searching for drinks. The germs from the hands are in the ice and then if the ice is put in a glass with a beverage then you are drinking the germs. Yuck!

1-2 lbs. ground beef

1 large onion, chopped as fine as you like

Salt and pepper to taste

Equal amounts cola and ketchup (start with about 1 c. each)

Brown the ground beef with the chopped onion, salt and pepper.  Drain if needed.  Add the cola and ketchup.  Simmer to make the sloppy joe sauce on the cooked ground beef.

This can be done in a skillet, or the meat cooked and added to a slow cooker with the sauce ingredients or cooked in a cast iron skillet/ heavy pan on the grill.

Looking for a Way to Serve It Other Than a Bun? Try these ideas.

  • Sloppy Joe Wrap: Place a spoon full in a flour tortilla, add onion and pepper strips or shredded lettuce with tomato slices. Sprinkle in some cheese if you dare.
  • Sloppy Joe Taco: Use the sloppy joe mix for the base of your favorite taco or burrito.
  • Sloppy Joe Salad: We eat taco salads - why not Sloppy Joe Salads? Make your favorite salad green bed on a plate and top with some sloppy joe mix. Spoon on some salsa, sour cream, cheese or whatever are your favorite toppings. Serve with tortilla chips.
  • Sloppy Joe Pasta: Cook your favorite spaghetti pasta and use the sloppy joe mix for the top for a special spaghetti dinner.
  • Sloppy Joe Casserole: Use the sloppy joe mix for the base of your favorite ground beef casserole. I use it for the base of a shepherd pie. It is delicious with mashed potatoes, corn or beans and cheese on top.
  • Sloppy Joe Frito Pie: Remember Frito Pies? They are usually made with chili but why not substitute the sloppy joe mix. Add a side salad and you have it made.

Nancy Note:  This sloppy joe mix freezes well and can be kept for up to 3 months without any problems.  Make up a large batch.  Freeze in serving size containers and pull out of the freezer a great convenience food for a quick delicious dinner whenever time is short.

For more information, contact:
Nancy A. Freeman, County DirectorHarrison County Extension Service
(228) 865-4227