Cheesy Turkey Sloppy Joes


We had this wonderful experience over the past year of participating in a preschool co-op.  It was run by two incredible teachers – Jessica and Paul – and we had a lovely group of fun families participate. The co-op would rotate amongst the house of participating families and whenever you hosted, you were in charge of providing snack and lunch.  I loved the challenge of feeding not 2 toddlers, but 4-6 toddlers.  And, we had 2 ringers in the bunch – Grace and James.  These toddler eating machines were a much better measure of my toddler cooking skills then picky 1 and picky 2 (aka my sweet twins).

I made these turkey sloppy joes and James proceeded to chant “sloppy joes!” “sloppy joes!” through the entire lunch.  That is easily the toddler equivalent of 4 stars from the NYTimes.   The twins are still suspicious of anything not slathered in jelly or cream cheese, but Matty has taken the torch from James and crushed his serving of this.

P.S. – Jessica- our phenomenal preschool teacher- she (of course) has an equally fabulous and talented mom, Susan. Susan is the one who designed this site and helped me with all tech aspects of it.  I can’t thank either of them enough for all they have done for me.

Cheesy Turkey Sloppy Joes


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Over medium heat, add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, let it warm for a minute or so, then add chopped onions.
  2. Cook onions for about 2 minutes, then add carrots. You want both of the vegetables to be fairly soft so it all blends in together, but you also don't want them to burn. Add a little more olive oil if pan is drying out and stir occasionally until softened.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over cooked vegetables.
  4. Add ground turkey to the pan with the vegetables, sprinkle with some salt, and cook until no longer pink, breaking meat up into as small of pieces as possible.
  5. Add sauce, ketchup, worcestershire (thank god I am writing this and not saying it because I always mangle that word), and mustard to pan.
  6. Stir until that is all combined. Let bubble away and thicken for a few minutes - then add cheese. Turn off heat and stir until cheese is melted.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  8. For kids I served it in potato hot dog rolls, for us grown ups, sandwich thins and topped with avocado and sriracha.
  9. This would freeze well.

The “is mom seriously trying to sneak some vegetables past me?!?” pic.

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  • kelly

    yes! i will definitely be making this at home for james, and i will be taking all the credit for wowing him with my cooking:)

  • Susan

    Thanks for the props, Nicole. And I have to agree with you that Jessica and Paul are amazing teachers and all ’round great people!

    But let’s talk about those Cheesy Turkey Sloppy Joes . . . sooooooooo tantalizing! What I love about your recipes is that they are “within reach” of averages cooks like me. Thanks for keeping us inspired!

  • Jess

    Such a great idea! I’m sure they were a hit! And it was such a pleasure working with you–not all preschool teachers get prepared gourmet, grown-up lunches by the mommy host. Those were the days!

  • Erin

    Made em tonight!! Hit with husband and children alike! Delish!