There is something about the arrival of the New Year that inspires a lot of people to eat healthier and set fitness or health goals for the rest of the year. And although I haven’t set any goals for myself for 2017 (can you hardly believe that I don’t have a list going?!?), perhaps I am subconsciously making changes, because lately both the hubby and I have been craving like crazy, my Mom’s Healthy Turkey Chili. I probably shouldn’t even call it Healthy Turkey Chili, I should just call it Crazy Good Chili, because in reality, the flavors are so rich that you would really have no concept that this is a figure-friendly recipe.
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped 1 Jalapeño, seeds removed and diced 2 Garlic Cloves, minced 4-6 Stalks of Celery, chopped 1.25-1.5 lb. Ground Turkey (we use the Extra Lean) 15 oz. can of Low Sodium Dark Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed 15 oz. can of Low Sodium Light Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed 15 oz. can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis 28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes 1 package McCormick Low Sodium Mild Chili Seasoning Kosher Salt Freshly Ground Pepper Optional extra seasonings: Adobo, Cumin, Paprika, Chipotle, Cayenne Optional toppings: Sour Cream, Chives, Cheddar Cheese Optional accompaniments: Baked Potatoes, Elbow Noodles
When my Mom passed this recipe along to me, she reminded me that it is completely adaptable to your taste, and I completely agree. I do a few things different than the way my Mom cooks it, but it turns out just like I remember it as a kid…savory, beany and delicious.
And what is really great about this recipe, aside from the fact that it is healthy, filling and terribly wonderful in every way, is that it is also really really quick and easy to make, and it just gets better over time. In fact, it is best made the day or night before. But for us, we have yet to be able to make the Chili and save it for the next day…it is that good.
Start by putting your olive oil in the bottom of a large pan (I use a 5.5 qt. Dutch Oven) set over medium heat. Add in your onion and sauté it for a few minutes with a bit of kosher salt and pepper to season. After the onions have started to soften a bit, add in your minced garlic and jalapeño. Sauté the veggies until they are very soft, and you start to see a little bit of color develop on the bottom of your pan.
Throw in your turkey, add a little more salt and babysit the pot a little. Since you are using a very lean meat, you will have to help it break up a little more than you would for a meat with more fat in it. Don’t be afraid to bash it around a bit, just make sure to get it broken up into as small of pieces as you like. In our house, we prefer as small as possible. There tends to be a lot of , “do you think this looks good enough?”. . .”maybe just a little more”. . .“how about now?”
After your turkey is “browned” (ground turkey really basically only turns white in color), add in all of your other ingredients – the beans, tomatoes, celery, seasoning packet (we also like to add some Cayenne for heat) and another pinch of salt. I also put a little bit of water in my tomato cans to rinse out the extra good stuff and give a little extra liquid to the Chili. Give the pot a big ol’ stir and make sure that everyone gets real friendly, then pop your top on and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
And that’s it. Seriously. Super easy and super delicious. But remember to make it for how it sounds best to you. I pick ingredients with low sodium, because I like to add my own salt, but maybe you don’t want to worry about seasoning as you go. I also like to add in my celery at the end so that it doesn’t cook very much, because we like crunchy celery in our Chili, but maybe that doesn’t appeal to you. Less seasoning, more seasoning, no jalapeño, extra beans, vegetarian, beef not turkey…you can literally customize this recipe exactly to your liking and it will turn out perfect every time.
Now there’s only one thing left to do. . .get eating! I grew up eating the Chili over a big heaping pile of buttery elbow noodles, but lately the Mr. and I have been digging a big bowl of Chili topped with a dollop of sour cream and a few chopped chives. However you plate it up, I promise you that it will be one seriously savory and delicious bowl of Chili. Enjoy.