Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Eat: Turkey Chili

When it's cold out, I want to eat a good soup or stew.

I've been a little obsessed my father-in-law's simple chili ever since he made a big double batch to eat for lunches during our vacation in the Outer Banks back in April. Previously, my experience with chili is pretty limited; my dad didn't like it so growing up we had my Mom's version of chili every once in a blue moon (and there was nothing wrong with it, mind you) and as an adult, I hadn't sought out the dish. Being someone who likes to taste their whole meal and not just spices, I don't like hot (spicy) foods and am always a bit apprehensive about chilis that I am unfamiliar with.

Then there is the consistency: I like a chili that is less soupy and more chunky... but not TOO chunky. I still want it to be a soup... just not... too soupy.

You see why I've had trouble with chili?

Anyhow, with a few tweaks to father-in-law's original recipe, this chili is now a favorite of mine - especially with a big Jiffy corn muffin on the side. Being chili, this is also highly customizable. For me, it has three different varieties: Naughty (made with sausage or ground beef), Not So Naughty (made with ground turkey), and Very Well Behaved (no meat). If you don't like the beans I use, then sub something else in. If you want more kick, add some chili powder, diced jalapenos, or green chiles.. Need all the fixins? Throw sour cream and shredded cheese on top. Make it yours.

Whatever version you prefer, it has a great mix of lean proteins and veggies that I think makes it a good food for runners too.

Oh yeah, and it's SUPER EASY. And makes delicious leftovers.

Turkey Chili
from Father-in-Law, modified by me

Total prep and cook time: 25 minutes (if you're good at chopping; longer if you're not)
Serves: 6

Ingredients (Not So Naughty Version):
10 ounces of ground turkey (I use Shadybrook 99% lean)
1 yellow or vidalia onion
2 cloves garlic
1 sweet green pepper
1 14 oz can pinto beans
1 14 oz can light red kidney beans
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (I prefer petite diced)
1 package McCormick Original Chili Mix

Possible Substitutions:
  • For meatier chili, use 1 pound of ground turkey
  • Substitute ground beef or sausage for turkey if you're feeling naughty
  • Add diced chiles or jalapenos for extra kick
  • Omit turkey or beef for vegetarian version; usually I add a second pepper in this case
Possible Additions:
  • Toppings such as shredded cheddar, sour cream, or green onions
  • Jiffy Corn Muffins (I'm just sayin' ... these things are delicious little calorie bombs, people.)
1. Chop onion and pepper(s), then cook ground turkey, onion, garlic, and pepper over medium heat in large saucepan until turkey is cooked through, stirring often.

2. Add beans, diced tomatoes, and chili mix.

3. Combine and simmer over medium heat until hot.

4. Dish up, add whatever extras you like, and eat!

Nutrition facts: If you make the vegetarian version and no toppings, as little as 162 calories per serving; as prepared above with no toppings, 208 calories per serving. Naughty version - you don't want to know.

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