Open Sloppy joe with CheeseI just love looking at all the beautiful pictures in the holiday editions of Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and the many others that appear in the mail this time of year. And let’s not even get started on my FoodGawker looking. At this point I’m surprised that I’m not already gaining weight just from looking at all the yummy pictures.

Closed Sloppy JoeI’m on a mission this season. Not to gain anymore weight and find ways to keep the great flavors of the season while finding a way to lighten them up, including the meals leading up to the big days such as Thanksgiving and all those holiday parties. So to start, here’s a good easy meal to make for the days leading up to all the holiday preparations. Sloppy Joes!

square sloppy joeI don’t know about you but Sloppy Joes take me back to being a kid again and anything that can do that is a great thing. I was craving them for some reason the other day even though it’s been years since I had them and they were always made using the can stuff. So I decided to make them homemade. Since I needed reminding of the flavor combination, I looked around on FoodGawker until I ran across a recipe from the Ambitious Kitchen that sounded promising. Spicy, sweet and yummy!

Sloppy joe servingWhile I did use her recipe as a base for the idea, I completely changed it so if you want to check it out, click on the link above. Otherwise move on to a wonderfully yummy recipe for Turkey Sloppy Joes that is not only low in fat but loaded with flavor that will transport you back to sitting at the kitchen table with your family with Sloppy Joe sauce dripping down your chin.

Sloppy JoesFor variations, you could cook this in a crock pot and a vegetarian option would use previously frozen tofu which then crumbles like ground meat. Follow same cooking methods to use the tofu and you’ll have yummy Sloppy Joes without the meat.

Light Sloppy Joes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey

1 cup chopped Sweet Italian Peppers (or bell pepper)

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 small jalapeno, finely chopped

1 large carrot, grated

8 oz. tomato sauce

6 oz. tomato paste

1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce (or use your favorite brand)

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. chipotle powder (not necessary but gave the dish a smokey, spicy flavor)

1 tsp. ground mustard

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 cup of water

6 to 8 hamburger buns, toasted

Saute the onions, carrot and peppers in the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat until translucent, before adding the garlic. Cook veggies until garlic is fragrant and then transfer to a bowl and set aside. Return the skillet to the burner and add the ground turkey. Cook until the turkey is cooked through and no longer pink.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients and add the veggies back into the pan, mixing well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens to your desired thickness for your Sloppy Joes. If you over thicken, you can add a little water back to the mix to bring back the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper to desired levels.

For those who find the sauce too tangy, add a bit of brown sugar and for those who find the spice levels too much, adjust to your personal tastes. Serve on hamburger buns and with cheese, lettuce or more mustard if desired.

Makes about 6 to 8 Sloppy Joes.

More yummy Sloppy Joe Recipes:    

Spicy Sloppy Joes from Anna Monette Roberts

Mom’s Best Ever Sloppy Joes from Feeling Foodish

Sloppy Joes from Cooking Classy with a Sprinkle of Fancy

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe Sliders from Coupon Clipping Cook

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