Sloppy Joes Aren’t Healthy

Who doesn’t love sloppy joes? They are tangy and messy and just all around comfort food. We love sloppy joes, but I just can’t bring myself to serve Manwich in my house. It’s convenient, but that’s because it’s loaded with MSG and high fructose corn syrup. Plus, I’ve discovered that when I make it myself, I can pass it off as being semi healthy.

You all know how well things usually go when I make meals myself, but here we go.

Tonight’s recipe is from

As my #goals blogger/chef/redhead, The Pioneer Woman, would say: Here’s our cast of characters:

Lean ground beef

Chopped onion

Chopped green bell pepper

Garlic powder

Yellow mustard


Brown sugar

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Okay, so maybe ketchup and brown sugar aren’t the healthiest, but I do use organic ketchup, and real sugar > fake sugar.

In keeping with the healthier trend, I’m using ground turkey instead of beef today. I start the skillet warming, and I smile as I open the package, remembering that I got this turkey for half price because it’s was approaching its ‘sell by’ date. Bargains are my favorite.

I dump the ground turkey into the skillet and walk away to retrieve the green pepper and onion. I’m using my favorite cheat- frozen, chopped white onions from Kroger- so I only have to chop the pepper.

I turn back to stir the turkey, and find that the bottom is completely STUCK to the pan. I usually make this recipe with beef, and I’ve forgotten to spray the pan. Now I’ll admit, since I consider ground beef and ground turkey to be pretty much interchangeable, this is not the first time I’ve made this mistake. I can usually remedy it by mixing a little oil while scraping the pan.

This doesn’t work.

Scrambling, I reach for the packaging that the meat came in. Did I accidentally buy chicken? No, it is indeed turkey; It’s extra LEAN turkey. No wonder this stuff made it to the manager’s special shelf. Who needs EXTRA lean turkey? I scrape away as it continues to glue to the bottom of the pan and turn a very sad shade of white.

Moving on.

I add my chopped onions to the pan and turn to chop my bell pepper. Dicing peppers has been an easier task since my sweet cousin Rebecca showed me a neat trick at a family gathering a few years back (Here’s looking at you, Bec!), but alas, that doesn’t keep me from nearly slicing my thumb off as I quickly dice away. I take a minute to thank God for giving us fingernails. I toss the peppers in with the mixture, add the ingredients to make the sauce, and let simmer for 20 minutes as instructed while I toast some potato buns (I always eat the burnt ones, because I’m a good wife.)

We sit down to eat, and I’m able to pass off the fact that the bell peppers are still crunchy (after 20 minutes simmering!!!) as something about giving it “a little extra texture”. He smiles and thanks me. He’s a champ.

Observations for next time:

-Sugar is sugar. Stop pretending this meal is healthy.

-Add lots of oil when using turkey, so that the meat won’t stick and the peppers will soften.

-Heck, if you’re gonna make it, just get regular beef. It’s not healthy anyway.

-Chop a little slower. No, a lot slower.


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