Sloppy Joe baked potatoes

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

These baked potatoes are dressed up with healthier turkey sloppy Joe filling for a tasty, healthy, and easy version of this kid-friendly sandwich.

Take me to the recipe!

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner
Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

M used to love sloppy Joes. LOVE THEM. However, when offered these, he declined saying, “I didn’t order that.” SOMEONE GAVE HIM THE GIFT OF SASS FOR HIS FOURTH BIRTHDAY AND I AM NOT HERE FOR IT.

After calmly explaining that I am, in fact, not his waitress, he proceeded to eat a dinner of pickles, cheese, and guacamole, all of which were the toppings and “safe” options I’d put out with the sloppy Joes. You win some, you lose some.

I’ve explained before how we started serving one family meal and adding lots of “safe” options as alternatives for M so that he can self-direct at dinner. Sometimes that means an apple and almond butter on the table or lots of condiments like pickles, olives, and cheese. Guacamole is usually reliable. But sometimes that means he doesn’t eat a ton for dinner and I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.

So, sloppy Joes, while traditionally a very kid-friendly option, were for the grownups in our house. But I have hope for the future.

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

What tends to appeal about Sloppy Joes is their sweetness, but I find that when the filling gets too sweet (like, when a recipe calls for a cup of ketchup), it can become cloyingly sweet. Also, who needs to eat all of that sugar for dinner?

However, the signature sloppy Joe flavor gets lost when you omit sweetener entirely, so I’ve included the bare minimum of brown sugar (2 tsp!) in this recipe. You can also wait to add it until the very end to decide for yourself if you really need it!

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes

Yield: 3 cups or 23 oz
Time: between 60-75 minutes (35 minutes active time)

4 large Russet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Flaky sea salt


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
½ medium white onion, minced (about ¾ cup)
1 medium stalk celery, minced (about ¼ cup)
1 small carrot, peeled and minced (a scant ½ cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced 
½ cup water, divided
6 oz tomato paste (one small can, about 10 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp malt vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand), plus more for the potatoes
2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2 tsp flaky sea salt, divided

Optional garnishes: cheese, pickles, pickles jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream, yogurt, coleslaw


  1. Preheat the oven to 400.

  2. Scrub 4 potatoes thoroughly and prick all over with a fork or small paring knife. I usually do 10-12 stabs per potato.

  3. Brush the outside skin with a very thin coating of olive oil. You should have some of the 2 Tbsp left over. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

  4. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the skin is crisp and the potato is fork tender.

  5. While the potatoes cook, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground turkey and chop the meat into small pieces with the end of your spatula or spoon. Stir a few times and reduce the heat to medium low.

  6. Chop the onions and add to the pan, stirring a few times.

  7. Repeat with the celery, carrots, and garlic, letting each vegetable cook while you prep the next one.

  8. Cook and stir until the turkey is fully cooked and no pink remains. The whole process of cooking the turkey and veggies should take about 13-15 minutes.

  9. Turn the flame back up to medium and let the turkey and veggies brown slightly. When they begin sticking to the pan a bit (about 3-4 minutes), pour in ¼ cup of water and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

  10. Add the tomato paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp salt, and brown sugar (if using), and mix well. If the mixture seems too dry, add the other ¼ cup of water. If you’ve added all of the water and it seems too wet, let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until your sauce has thickened.

  11. When the potatoes are done, carefully remove the pan from the oven and, using an oven mitt on one hand to steady the potato, cut it open with a sharp knife, being careful of the steam that escapes.

  12. Pour a few drops of malt vinegar and a large pinch of sea salt into each opened potato. Top with 1/2 -3/4 cup of the turkey mixture.

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

I don’t know if the abundance of sugar, salt, and fat change my tastebuds during the holidays, but I always struggle to live by the 80/20 rule in December. I indulge with the eating and drinking and then swear I’m going to be healthy the next day, but the healthy stuff never feels all that satisfying or tastes all that good. So I end up like a moth to a flame with the treats.

But you know what? I don’t have to toggle between bland salads and a dozen cookies. This polenta casserole may just be the middle ground: It’s still delicious and a little indulgent with a garlicky pesto and plenty of cheese on top, but it also features kale and ground turkey breast and is the perfect vehicle for any of those leftover veggies in your fridge that are about to go bad. Throw them in and see what happens!

I used my own kale pesto recipe, but cut down on the oil and nuts. But for ease, feel free to use any store-bought pesto that you can find. And to up the nutrition, add any veggies you have in your fridge. You may need to add a bit more pesto to cover the extra ingredients.

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Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles
Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Polenta casserole

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground turkey
Large pinch of salt
¾-1 cup kale pesto (recipe below)
1 log premade polenta
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
½ cup hard gouda (not the softer, smoked variety), shredded
¼ cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large oven-safe sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté the ground turkey until no pink remains and it has just begun to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Season with a large pinch of salt.

Turn off the heat and stir in the kale pesto.

Slice the polenta log into 1/4 –inch pieces and layer over the turkey and pesto.

Top with cheese and cook in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling.  

Yield: 4 servings

Kale pesto

4 cups packed chopped kale
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl with ice water. Wash and chop kale, leaving the middle stems.

When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. After 1-2 minutes, remove it from the boiling water and add it to the bowl of ice water. Drain the kale (gently squeeze out the water) and add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 1 cup

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles