If you're dreading the school year's hundreds of packed lunches—or simply want to add a little punch to the lunch box—check out Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J.M. Hirsch. Give PB&J and Lunchables the boot with these super easy, fresh lunchtime combos.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Prefer the big taste of beef in your Joes? Substitute lean ground beef. Or bison. Or a blend. Sloppy Joes are a total what-have-you recipe. Somebody in the family off carbs or gluten? These are awesome in lettuce wraps, too.

Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients. This recipe comes together effortlessly in minutes.


  • 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms

  • 1 small yellow onion

  • ¼ cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 6 anchovy fillets

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 pounds ground turkey

  • Salt and ground black pepper

  • 4 burger buns

  • Shredded cheddar cheese

In a blender, combine the red peppers, tomato sauce, mushrooms, onion, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, anchovies, garlic, mustard powder and hot sauce. Puree until smooth, then set aside.

beatingthelunchboxbluesIn a large sauté pan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the ground turkey and brown, breaking up any chunks, for 10 minutes. Add the tomato-red pepper mixture, stir well, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sloppy Joes onto the buns and top with cheese.

Copyright © 2013 by J.M. Hirsch from Beating the Lunch Box Blues published by Rachael Ray/Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Read our review of this book.

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