Written by Diane Karr @ Common Ground

I remember supper with my aunt and uncle in Iowa when they served Sloppy Joe’s. As a kid, I was totally confused.

I was raised to call them Yum Yum’s. Maybe it’s a Nebraska thing? Don’t even get me started on RunzasDiane Karr….

At any rate, Yum Yum’s are super easy to make, and are a good go-to meal during busy times of the year. Right now, planting intersects with baseball, soccer, and track season – which means that we don’t always get to sit down together for our evening meal. Yum Yum’s can be kept warm in the crock pot, so everyone can have a warm meal even if it’s not at the same time.

Besides using high-quality Nebraska ground beef in my Yum Yum’s, I served this kid sized portion with with a whole wheat bun, carrot sticks, and apples. Good – and good for you!

The best part of Yum Yum’s is the versatility! I keep the recipe tame for youngsters who don’t like spicy food, and kick it up a notch for truckers during harvest season by adding a can or two of chopped green chilies, a little red pepper sauce, and larger proportions of onion, garlic, and pepper. Another variation: serve over tortilla chips and add toppings for a Sloppy Nacho. Plus, ingredient substitutions always work well – I’ve never had a bad batch of Yum Yum’s. My recipe for Yum Yum’s is a thrown together combo of what my mom used to make and what I’ve seen in cookbooks.

Sometimes something easy and basic makes everybody happy! Here’s the How-To:


Yum Yum’s

Serves 6


1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can chicken gumbo soup
1 cup ketchup or 1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 can chopped green chilies
1-2 drops red pepper sauce


1. Add your (defrosted) ground beef to a skillet on medium heat. I’m using 1-1/2 pounds. Continue to stir and move it around in the skillet so it can brown evenly. I’ll take my steak medium rare – but we don’t want to see any pink in the ground beef! While you’re doing this, grind some fresh pepper over the meat to taste.


2. Add a few dried onion flakes. This is about a 1/2 tablespoon. Or, add finely chopped fresh onion. I’d start with 1/4 cup, and increase from there depending on your love of onions. Today, I’m in a hurry. Onion flakes it is. When the beef is browned, drain off the grease.


3. Surprise! Add a can of chicken gumbo soup. If you need to stretch the recipe, add another can.


4. Add a cup of ketchup. Or a can of tomato sauce. You can’t go wrong.


5. Mustard loves ketchup. Add 1/2 Tablespoon.


6. Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt. Or more, if you’re kicking it up.


7. I like a teaspoon or two of Worcestershire sauce. Throttle the heat down to medium low. Simmer for a few minutes until everything is heated through.


8. If you think your Yum Yums need more pizzazz at this point, add a small can (or two) of diced green chilies, more black pepper, and a couple drops of red pepper sauce.If you want them thicker, cook a little longer. If you want them saucier, add a tablespoon of water at a time or add more ketchup or tomato sauce.See? Told you it was easy!

9. Feel free to accessorize with…. I don’t know what this is. A blooming carrot? My kids like to dip their carrots in peanut butter… And I’m ok with that!


10. Serve over whole wheat buns. Then, smile for the camera and tell Mom how much you like your Yum Yums. Or make a funny face.


11. Alternatively, for Sloppy Nachos, serve over tortilla chips and top with shredded cheese and jalapenos.

 Yum Yum's Nebraska Sloppy Joes Recipe Diane Karr CommonGround Nebraska



Meta Tags: #cgconvo, food, CommonGround, farming, modern agriculture, family, family farming, recipe, healthy food, food safety, safe food, kids, moms, beef, corn

Diane Karr

Diane Karr lives on a family farm in south central Nebraska with her husband and four sons. Besides chasing after her busy boys and the farm, she volunteers as a church organist. Diane graduated from UNL in 1996 as an agribusiness major, shares stories about farm life at RealFarmWifeOnTheCountyLine.com, and is a volunteer for CommonGround Nebraska. She also enjoys Husker football, hazelnut lattes, cooking and baking, boating, photography, and spending time with family and friends.