The Lazy Chef: Not-so-sloppy Joes + Broccoli and Cheese Couscous

by Jenn (eating bender) on August 28, 2008

A recent conversation with VeggieGirl had me on a quest: to make Snobby Joes from Veganomicon. Unfortunately, based on the food in our fridge that still needed to be used up this week – because in honor of being lazy, it’s important not to make any extra trips 😉 – tonight, I had to settle on a meat-eater’s version with a twist: ground turkey instead of beef, which was a welcome change since I’m not a huge fan of the latter. This recipe makes quite a bit more food than I usually do when cooking for myself – but that’s what leftovers are for, I suppose!

I should point out that the title of these Joes is not-so-sloppy because for some reason, my ground turkey refused to break up into pieces. I guess I didn’t try hard enough to crumble it. So it ended up being closer to hummus in its consistency, which is definitely unique and not necessarily what I was originally trying to create. I’m pretty sure that if I did make this again, I would try harder to ensure that it looked more like the typical Sloppy Joes – but hey, that’s what experimentation is for, right?!

Not-so-sloppy Joes + Broccoli and Cheese Couscous


Not-so-sloppy Joes (serves 4):

  • 1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Chipotle spice, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste


Broccoli and Cheese Couscous (serves 3):



Begin with the Not-so-sloppy Joes by combining all ingredients into a medium-sized soup pot. Place pot on a burner and begin cooking on medium-high heat.

Continue stirring the mixture as the turkey begins to cook. Then begin working on the couscous by combining water, milk and seasoning packet (from box) in a medium frying pan. Place on medium heat and bring liquid to a boil.

Once the liquid is boiling, stir in the couscous and pull the pan off the heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, or until couscous becomes thicker and more solid.

Turn back to the Not-so-sloppy Joes and continue stirring for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until turkey is completely cooked.

Serve both the Joes and the couscous plain, or consider using a piece of bread to make a not-so-sloppy sandwich. My family picked up a fresh loaf of bread from a local store earlier today, so we decided to use it as a “plate” for the not-so-sloppiness.

Smother the not-so-sloppy mixture on a slice of bread, and ENJOY!

Despite the unusual consistency, my family enjoyed both the Joes and the couscous. And the best part about both of these is that they took no longer than 15 minutes to make AND only left behind two dirty pans! No chopping required – although next time I’d add more veggies. But I didn’t to get too ambitious since it was my first try 😉 And of course, I’m LAZY.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Not-so-sloppy Joes:

  • 190 calories
  • 1g fat
  • 16g carbohydrates
  • 4g fiber
  • 29g protein


Broccoli and Cheddar Couscous:

  • 220 calories
  • 5g fat
  • 40g carbohydrates
  • 3g fiber
  • 8g protein


And last but not least, I gave this guy a try this morning:

I was very excited to open the package and find the smell of apple cinnamon wafting through the air. It seriously smelled like the real deal – I was impressed enough to write it down to make sure I mentioned the smell on the blog! :) That’s when you know it’s serious, right?

The taste was very similar to the blueberry flavor in that it’s sweet, fruity and a definite step in the opposite direction from the usual brownie or chocolate chip. I recommend it to anyone who has tried those other Clif ZBaRs but finds them too chocolate-y and is looking to try a bar with more of that fruity flavor.

And if all else fails and you still aren’t impressed, you could always add it to yogurt

Because yogurt + ZBaRs is a staple in my diet this week…and probably will be for many more weeks to come! I urge anyone who likes both to combine them now!!

Buenas noches :)

1 Nicole August 28, 2008 at 12:39 am

Apple cinnamon! I have yet to see that one in my grocery store. Sounds delish!

You must try Snobby Joe’s from VCON! They are superb!

Nicole ~ Snobby Joe’s are definitely on the menu! I would have made them this time around were it not for the ground turkey that needed to be used. Next time, for sure!

2 Kristie August 28, 2008 at 1:42 am

You have me SERIOUSLY wanting some variation of sloppy joes right now. I haven’t had them in forever and ever. And I never even used to like them! But I reeeeally want some right now… weird.

And couscous too. I haven’t made that in too long. I really need to do that, I miss it!

Kristie ~ Haha, I’m glad I could give you a craving! I used to hate them as well because one time at summer camp, my counselor made me clean my plate and I had taken too much, so I got really sick!

3 wholefoodswholeme August 28, 2008 at 2:12 am

i’ve never made sloppy (or not-so-sloppy) joes, so i’m glad you posted an easy recipe for it!! although i do have v’con so i must try that recipe too. and i looooooove couscous, and the broccoli-cheese combination. they go SO well together! your family is lucky to have such a good dinner cooked for them, “lazy” or not 😉

wholefoodswholeme ~ Thank you!

4 oatmeal August 28, 2008 at 2:25 am

Yay! I don’t really like beef either–so this is awesome 😀
And I guess the hummus consistency would make this very easy to pack as well! Thanks for the recipe–I have a feeling I’ll be needing this one a lot 😛

Carmen ~ Yes, that is one good thing about the consistency! You’re welcome 😉

5 HangryPants August 28, 2008 at 5:13 am

I bet in this version you don’t have an orange/red ring around your mouth after eating. Looks great and love the loaf!


Heather ~ That’s definitely true! I hadn’t thought of that – good call :)

6 Erica August 28, 2008 at 6:06 am

I haven’t seen the fruity z bars yet but I cannot wait to try them! thanks for the review! Tomato-y products with bread goes so well! That bread looks awesome :) Hope you had a good day today!

Erica ~ You’re welcome! And yes, tomato does go well with bread – pizza and pasta, anyone?!

7 Christie August 28, 2008 at 6:09 am

I love adding those bars to yogurt it is lik the perfect dessert! Ohh and that bread looks so good, nice and dense and grainy!

Christie ~ Dense and grainy bread is my FAVORITE!

8 Erin August 28, 2008 at 6:59 am

Gimme that bread! What was in it?!

Erin ~ Not quite sure – but plenty of grains and seeds!

9 Christie I August 28, 2008 at 7:15 am

I love the veganomican recipe for snobby joes, it is a standard meal at our house. MMmm!

Christie I ~ I’ve got to try that one soon!

10 Fit Bottomed Girls August 28, 2008 at 7:20 am

People find things too chocolatey–really?! lol. I simply adore Clif bars. What are the nutritionals on the Zbars? Lower in cals than the regular adult ones?

Fit Bottomed Girls ~ Haha I know, it’s somewhat blasphemous! The ZBaRs nutritionals are great – they range from 120-140 or so calories and are pretty decently sized, so it seems like you get a lot of bang for your buck!

11 Aimee August 28, 2008 at 7:52 am

That bread looks amazing!!

Aimee ~ It was!!

12 Melissa August 28, 2008 at 8:09 am

mmmmmmmm…i love that kind of couscous…all their different flavors rock!!!

and love the zbar in the chobani of course!!!!

Melissa ~ Yummmmmmy!

13 Megan August 28, 2008 at 8:10 am

It took me forever to find the new z-bars. I love the blueberry z-bars, but the apple were too fruity for me….a little too sweet. Now if I could just find one of those peanut butter lara bars!

Megan ~ Yes, the PB Larabars are alluding me at home with the family. I should have stocked up in Chicago and brought some home!

14 Rose August 28, 2008 at 8:16 am

My goodness. The first picture of your mixture looks outstanding! You could send that straight to a magazine for sure.

I know I keep commenting on your photos, but they are really good… the food looks just as good – even if I don’t say it every time!

Rose ~ I truly appreciate anytime you comment on my photos – especially considering I think yours are so fantastic!! Thanks :)

15 VeggieGirl August 28, 2008 at 8:17 am

HAHA!!! Before I read the post, I DID think that you made some sort of hummus 😉 At least it still tasted good, and everyone enjoyed them!! You must try the Snobby Joes though, when you get the chance :-)

VeggieGirl ~ Haha, I will definitely try them next time!!

16 Sarah August 28, 2008 at 8:19 am

i really wish my grocery store carried the new zbar flavors—they look so good! and there is no chobani here either : (

Hopefully when i get back to boston i’ll be able to find all these new foods (as well as granola planks because i want to try them so badly!!)

Dinner looks really good and comforting—it’s been cold, rainy, and dreary here the past few days and this looks like the perfect meal for that sort of weather. Along with freshly made bread=amazing.

Sarah ~ I hope that stores in Boston will have them available for you!! And yes, fresh bread is incredibly good.

17 fitnessista August 28, 2008 at 8:35 am

thank you for the recipes!! it looks delicious! i love your lazy chef recipes- they’ll be perfect on the nights where i want to make something fast and healthy. i love how you include the nutritional info too 😀 yeahhhhh!
i still can’t find any of the new z-bar flavors! i’ve been dying to try the blueberry one!
have a great day!!

fitnessista ~ Thanks! I always know that when I see a recipe, I would love to know what the nutrition info. is – so I make sure to include it!

18 jenngirl August 28, 2008 at 9:02 am

In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t mind the not-so-sloppy consistency, haha I like to keep it clean while eating. That coucous looks yummy, I’ve tried plain before and was not impressed.

So glad to hear about the new flavor of Z-bars! Of course they are now on my “mysterious bars” list, along with PB Cookie Larabars…hmphh

jenngirl ~ Yes, I’m definitely a clean eater, too! And I hope the “mysterious bars” will be found soon!!

19 ttfn300 August 28, 2008 at 9:19 am

just tried the fruity z-bars and loved them :) and dinner looks good… especially that fresh bread!!

ttfn300 ~ I’m so glad you liked them!

20 caitlin (see bride run) August 28, 2008 at 10:59 am

that looks seriously amazing! i need to try this recipe! thanks for posting!

caitlin (see bride run) ~ Thank you!!

21 HeatherBakes August 28, 2008 at 11:17 am

I second the Snobby Joe recipe- it’s SO good!

Your sloppy joes look great! That’s weird about the turkey texture, but I would actually prefer that my joes be not-so-sloppy :)

HeatherBakes ~ Yeah, now that everyone has said it, I think I enjoyed the not-so-sloppy texture!! I forgot how messy the other version can be.

22 Grounded Fitness August 28, 2008 at 11:44 am

ive never seen not sloppy joes. sounds like my kind of meal. if i have to wipe my mouth more than twice, im angry. it eats up my eating time.

Grounded Fitness ~ Haha, “eats up my eating time” – love it :)

23 eatingbirdfood August 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I used to LOOOVE sloppy joes, I want to try the meatless version sometime soon… I’m glad your family enjoyed your creation.

I still need to get my hands on the fruit flavored z-bars, no such luck finding them here yet.

eatingbirdfood ~ Good luck finding the z-bars!!

24 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) August 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm

I’ve never made sloppy joes before, so I am very excited to see this simple recipe. It’s so cool that you used ground turkey, as I’m trying to eat less ground beef. I can’t wait to make this!

Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) ~ Let me know what you think if you do try it!

25 Jessica August 28, 2008 at 6:22 pm

The ZBaR & yogurt is a great and simple idea! I’ll have to keep it in mind 😀

Jessica ~ Thanks – it really is yummy!

26 glidingcalm August 28, 2008 at 8:27 pm

That doesn’t look like a lazy chef meal to me!! Looks practical and delicious. VeggieGirl has raved to me about those as well, but I haven’t found a chance to make them yet!! YUM. I bet your family was pleased to have something so scrumptious! What a treat it is for them to have Miss Jenn around!

So glad you are enjoying home…it’s almost as though I am living vicariously through you…. knowing you are happy and home with family, makes me warm and fuzzy inside and feeling good too!!

Thanks for the Z Bar review…hmmm im not a huge apple cinnamon girl…but perhaps if the chance came along, I might try it!? Haven’t seen that flavor around though!!

Take care Jenn-a-boo!! :)

glidingcalm ~ Aw, you’re so nice! I’m glad that me being home is giving you a warm fuzzy! Haha, I remember warm fuzzies from 1st grade – we had to give them to our friends to show we care :) Oh, and I’m not a huge apple cinnamon girl either, but I did like this bar!

27 annaalstondonnelly August 28, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Looks delicious- and love all the step by step photos!

Anna ~ Thanks!

28 Miss White Skirt August 29, 2008 at 12:03 am

oo so many things are delicious crumbled up in yogurt. I have yet to try the Z bars but they look really good!

yummy looking sloppy joes, wow! you call that lazy?! 😉

Miss White Skirt ~ Haha, I call it lazy since it didn’t require too much physical effort on my part 😉 But it definitely LOOKS more elegant than the actual cooking process was, haha :)

29 ashley August 29, 2008 at 9:49 am

Mmmm.. I love the meal. I recently made a veggie version and it was SO GOOD. It might be weird, but the thing I miss most from eating meat is sloppy joes. Maybe that’s because I stopped meat when I was 11… :)

ashley ~ Haha, that makes sense. I gotta try the veggie version!

30 Rachael September 3, 2008 at 6:05 pm

That def looks like bread from Great Harvest – am I right?

Rachael ~ It seriously does look like Great Harvest! It was actually from a place called Epicurean Delight, but I looooove Great Harvest bread – and gigantic cookies!!!

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