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Cooking with Kids - BBQ Sloppy Joes

By Cheri Liefeld
Created January 10, 2017
Make dinner even more special by having the kids help cook!

My niece and nephew have been cooking with me for more than 10 years. Each week we make dinner or a dessert…sometimes both. When they were little, they would run for the step stool and jump right in. There are many benefits to having kids cook. They practice math skills as they measure ingredients and see science in action as different combinations result in cookies or cakes. 

My niece has developed the same love of cooking that I had at her age. She is fearless about trying new techniques with confidence and even helps style the photos.

Photo 1 BBQ SJ

When kids cook, they are more likely to try new ingredients and combinations and to develop more adventurous palates. Best of all, great conversations happen as we are stirring and prepping! 

If you start with a Hamburger Helper® mix, dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes. We decided to take Hamburger Helper® Sloppy Joe and turn it into BBQ Sloppy Joe Burgers.

Photo 2 BBQ SJ

You also need one onion, ground beef, Hamburger Helper®, milk, water, barbecue sauce and corn. Don’t forget the hamburger buns! 

We made baked onion rings to top the sandwiches. They are easy to make and lower in calories than the deep-fried variety. The kids can measure out the panko crumbs. They also love to smash the Chex cereal in a plastic bag. Let them stir it all together.

Photo 3   BBQ SL

Cut the onions into 1/4 inch slices and soak in buttermilk. Let the kids dip the onion slices in the egg mixture and then dredge in the coating mix.

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My niece and nephew were a tag team laying the onions the baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp.

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For the sandwiches, sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown. Stir in the Hamburger Helper, water and barbecue sauce. With supervision, my niece stirred the ingredients.

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Cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn; cook 3 to 4 minutes more or until the pasta is tender.

Photo 9 BBQ SJ

Place a hamburger bun bottom on each plate; spoon on some sloppy Joe mixture. Top with one or two onion rings and the bun top.


For dessert, we crumbled Pillsbury® sugar cookies into a glass and topped with orange yogurt and mandarin oranges. Repeat layers, ending with the mandarin oranges. It was a sweet fruit parfait with a little crunch from the sugar cookie.

Photo 10 BBQ SJ