Classy it up: the Messy Joseph

Messy Joseph

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, no? It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, exactly . . . it’s just that, well . . . okay, we haven’t really been cooking. Not in a share-this-awesome-recipe-on-my-blog way, anyway. Mostly skillet meals and such.

I’ve been trying to get serious about meal planning, but last week’s dinners looked like this:

Monday: Skillet meal
Tuesday: Slow cooker ham and bean soup
Wednesday: Pizza with friends
Thursday: Dinner out with family
Friday: Pizza with my parents

And yeah.

I did bake banana bread over the weekend to use up a bunch of brown fruit. But that barely counts.

Spence and I were back in action on Tuesday, though! Back, hungry and ready for something new. I discovered this recipe for Messy Josephs — the older, sophisticated brother to the popular Sloppy Joe — a few months back, and I can finally say that I pinned it and made it.

And it was delicious.

I had to modify the original because we were missing a few of the ingredients, including fresh basil, and it was raining and my hair was already poofy and yeah, no grocery run for me. Because we also lacked portobello mushrooms — a hallmark of the recipe! — I had to get even more creative.

It all worked out.

The Messy Joseph is tangy, interesting, a little bit sweet from the addition of balsamic vineger (LOVE) and red wine. It retains the structure and texture of a Sloppy Joe, but the flavors are totally turned up a notch. It just tastes fresh in a way that a prepared-from-a-can-mix Sloppy Joe cannot.

If Sloppy Joe was the affable high school athlete beloved by teachers and classmates alike, Messy Joseph is the Ivy League-bound senior who heads up both the National Honor Society and the drama department. He’s a little bit finicky, maybe, but a total smartypants who can also please a crowd.

The recipe made enough for a hungry couple to devour with leftovers for the next day — a criterion that has become increasingly important as I realize being an adult means preparing meals for yourself every evening. Leftovers for lunch or other dinners are pretty much the best.

Serve it over rice, in a bun or atop a portobello mushroom . . . or just, you know, eat it by itself. I totally just dove in at my desk the next day, though I had the forethought to secure half a bun to create a little open-faced meal as I answered emails.

I was right proud of myself, friends. And it sure as heck beat some lukewarm Progresso soup.

Messy Joseph

Messy Josephs

Recipe adapted from Diving Into Vino Again

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 package (about 2 cups) fresh mushrooms
Sun dried tomatoes, diced
Marinated red peppers, sliced
1 lb ground turkey
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup red wine
1 tbsp dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Saute the onions and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat until onions turn translucent and mushrooms begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until cooked through. Add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, marinated peppers, balsamic, red wine, tomato paste, basil and salt and pepper. Continue to let it simmer for 15 minutes over low-medium heat. Serve in a bun or over rice.

9 thoughts on “Classy it up: the Messy Joseph

  1. I love that you had pizza twice in one week. Often when I suggest pizza I get, “We just had pizza a couple of days ago.” I’m like, “Your point?” I could (and did occasionally) eat pizza every day. I submit that it is the ultimate meal. The Messy Joseph also looks like it would really get in my mouth nicely. I would suggest that Classy Joseph might be a better name, though. – Kirt


  2. Haha, messy josephs! This is great! And I’ve been doing a lot of 15 minute recipes lately. It’s already getting so hot in CA and I hate turning the oven on if I can avoid it. Can’t wait to give these a try : )


  3. This was great! I made it tonight and added some dried chipotles. . . Maybe a few too many!


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