Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes: I conquered dinner again!

I like cooking, and I want to feed my family healthy meals, but I'm often distracted or pulled in many directions -- away from the kitchen.

It was 4pm. I had an hour to make dinner and I had no idea what to make. So, I did the next logical thing: pulled out my copy of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. The introvert's way of asking a friend to bail her out: read friend's cookbook. (Or friend's blog!)

Not surprisingly, most of the recipes in the book weren't going to help me last-minute like that, even if I had all the ingredients. I was feeling desperate and uninspired. Too many meals of grilled burgers and watermelon and WAY too many homemade tacos in the past few weeks! I got complaints last time I made pollock. All the chicken was frozen and I didn't feel like grilling anything anyway.

I started searching for a recipe that could be made with a still-frozen package of ground turkey. (I buy the 4-packs at Costco and put them in the freezer.) Sloppy joes? I did have buns in the freezer. At any rate, it would be something different and I could have dinner on the table on time.

I made the Sweet and Spicy Joes, with just a few substitutions, and they were a hit! After making the recipe for the first time, we decided to try adding lentils to make the meal more affordable (plus, I'm always about eating a varied diet), and I tried eating mine in romaine lettuce "tacos". The crunchy lettuce was a perfect complement to the spicy meat mixture!

I'm calling my version Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes. I need to start a new, updated list of my favorite quick-and-easy meals for all those days I lack inspiration, and these sandwiches are going on that list! :)

For most of last year, I lost weight by cutting calories, and making lettuce sandwiches, wraps, or "tacos" was one of the ways I kept things healthy and lower-calorie. I do not eat "low carb", because I do eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. :)


Thank you!! These look so yummy!

I made these tonight to use up some frozen ground beef and venison. I never really liked sloppy joes growing up, but you had me at "spicy" and "lentils". I LOVE this recipe! Probably a little too spicy for my little one (DD6) so I may have to figure out how to tone down this batch for her. Do your kids eat food this spicy?

Yay! I'm so glad you loved the sloppy joes. For some reason the seasonings were just amazing to my mouth (less so to Joshua's) and it's a new favorite of mine. :)

My kids ate it just fine; they had it on buns with cheese so that probably toned it down a little. Channah (17 months) amazed me by eating the sloppy joes part all by itself! I thought sure it'd be too spicy for her, but I'm glad I had her try some because she loved it!

I think if you reduced the cayenne in the spice mixture, it would be much less "hot" and your daughter might like it better that way. :)

I like these sloppy joes, but Mom made them so many times I got tired of them! They are good, but not 3 or 4 times in a row.

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