Wooden Spoon Sloppy Joes

My oldest asked if we could make sloppy joes after flipping through a kid’s cookbook. Meat, check. Sauce, check. Bun, check. What more could a kid ask for? I was immediately thrown back to “hot lunch” day at my small day school in Maryland.

I think those Joes either came from a can or a McCormick spice pack.

So, yes, my answer was “of course we can make these from scratch my dear!”.

I started looking around for a good recipe and every single one had way too many steps and way too many measurements. I don’t need to get that many kitchen items dirty to make this simple dinner that most of the time comes straight from a can or a packet.

I took the basic flavor elements (tomato, mustard, worcestershire sauce & spices) and came up with this “recipe” and all you need is a wooden cooking spoon to measure. Now that is my kind of easy meal!

Wooden Spoon Sloppy Joes


  • 2 Pounds of ground organic turkey, preferably not all white meat-  You can certainly use ground beef here too
  • 1 15 Oz can of tomato sauce (I like Trader Joe’s Organic one!)
  • 2 Small or one medium onion diced
  • 3 Garlic cloves minced or run through a garlic press (my preferred method!)
  • Olive oil for the pan… maybe 2-3 tablespoons
  • Honey
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Yellow Mustard (like for hot dogs)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Cinnamon
  • Chipotle chili powder, or regular, whatever you have in your spice cabinet
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat a heavy bottom pot with a lid  (I have and love this Le Creuset) and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot, 1-2 tablespoons.
  2. Chop onions, add to the hot pot Cook until soft and starting to turn golden.
  3. Mince Garlic and add to the pot and then immediately add ground turkey.
  4. Stir to incorporate onion and garlic with the meat adding more olive oil if mixture is sticking to the bottom.
  5. Cook for 5-6 minutes on medium high heat until the meat starts to brown and crumble. Season with salt & pepper.
  6. Add one shake of cinnamon and a few shakes of chili powder depending on your desired heat level.
  7. Stir in can of tomato sauce.
  8. Using your wooden cooking spoon (or whatever spoon you are cooking with) measure out two spoonfuls of honey, two spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar, two spoonfuls of mustard and two spoonfuls of worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  9. Turn down heat, partially cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. While meat simmers get your buns ready. Split and toast your favorite; we love Gillian’s Gluten Free Bulkie Rolls.
  11. Top your rolls with a heaping spoonful of your Sloppy Joe filling and enjoy!

My kids like theirs with pickles and maybe a slice of cheese!


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