Homemade Sloppy Joes

2-3 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 rib celery, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and ground pepper

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, to taste

1-2 teaspoons chili powder or smoked paprika, to taste

1-3 teaspoons brown sugar, to taste

shredded sharp cheddar cheese, if desired

Split and toasted hamburger buns OR baked sweet potatoes OR soft polenta

1. Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a high simmer, cover, reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and rich, 20-30 minutes.

4. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon onto toasted buns, into baked sweet potatoes, or over soft polenta.

Makes 8 1/2-cups servings of the meat mixture.

Nutritional info:

1/2 cup mixture: 3 Weight Watcher's Plus Points.

3/4 cup mixture: 5 Weight Watcher's Plus Points.

1/2 cup mixture: 175.5 cal; 10.9g fat; 7.2g carb; 1.1g fiber; 11.4g protein.