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Mom, what’s for dinner?

If for you, the four most dreaded words in the English language are not “We need to talk” or “Your card’s been declined,” but rather, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” then this month’s recipes are for you.

We’re empty nesters now, but I well remember the challenge of Tuesday (or any other school day, for that matter)  at 6 pm, when three ravenous intruders converged on my kitchen like clockwork, weary from work, school, basketball practice and rehearsal, and looked to me for nourishment.  Feeding a family of four at Chipotle or Chick-Fil-A more than once a week isn’t just bad for children’s developing palates and your waistline, it’s increasingly cost prohibitive. 

Over the years, I developed a cadre of recipes that satisfy three important criteria: 1) it can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes, 2) using ingredients I regularly stock, and 3) that children actually like.  Today I share two of them:  turkey Sloppy Joes (below) and make-your-own fish tacos.  Naturally, if your kids aren’t big on fish, you’re free to substitute ground beef or turkey for the protein.  The tacos have the added benefit of being a one-dish meal; with the sloppy joes, I serve a salad (or even a bagged salad kit, if it’s been that kind of day…)

A note about the sloppy joes:  these aren’t sweet! I’ve never liked cloyingly sweet meat dishes, and my husband eschews sugar altogether (sad, I know). These sloppy joes are savory and smoky (thanks, smoked paprika!) and just delish. 

And a note about the tacos: the “salsa” is a great, fresh-tasting stand-alone side dish for summer picnics and barbecues.  5 simple ingredients stir together to make a delicious salad.  Or is it a salsa? You decide.

Turkey sloppy Joes

Recipe by Betsy OwensCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Just say no to “Manwich.” This “momwich” is savory, not sweet.


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 lb. ground turkey

  • 28-oz. can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika

  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

  • salt to taste

  • 6 slices provolone cheese

  • 6 deli buns (we like French hamburger rolls, pictured here)


  • In a large saute pan, warm olive oil and saute onion until soft; add ground turkey and saute until cooked through.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and all seasonings; simmer about 10-15 minutes for flavors to blend.
  • In the meantime, slice then toast buns in 300 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • Top each bun with slice of cheese then 1/6 of meat mixture.

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