Food: Chili while it’s still chilly

You know how if you live in the midwest, every single year, the weather seemingly changes from winter to beautiful 70+ degree weather almost over night?  And you break out your flip flops, and your sleeveless tops, and think you’re in the clear… because it will NEVER BE COLD AGAIN!….?  Well, you’re not in the clear.  It’s April.  In the midwest.  Yet year after year, it’s this daunting surprise when I’m forced back into leggings and hoodies, after said-70 degree weather (woe is me, right?!)

So instead of pouting about it (cuz clearly, I’m totally ok with it), I’ve decided to celebrate the end of the cold season (with fingers crossed) and make one of my favorite warm-up meals – chili! 🙂

The chili that I make is made a bit on the spicy side, so I will try and note how you could make it less spicy… I also use ground turkey, instead of ground beef.  I started this years ago because I have “borderline high cholesterol” according to the “doctor.”  I say this loosely, in quotes, but it was actually said verbatim by an actual doctor.  Anyway, I think the way that I make it, you won’t even NOTICE that it’s turkey and not beef.  I even tricked my nephew into eating it because he thought he only liked beef and I was hell-bent on proving him wrong.  He couldn’t tell one bit of difference.  (It’s not LYING if you are tricking someone into eating something they don’t think they like… trust me, I try it on myself all the time). 😉

Here is the recipe, complete with photos:


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (or one pound ground beef if you don’t like turkey… but please at least TRY this once and see if you do :))
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, fine to medium dice
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (or 1/4 to 1/2 of a jalapeño, or emit completely if you don’t like spicy), SUPER finely diced
  • 1 can chili hot beans (chili mild beans if you don’t like as spicy)
  • 1 package chili seasoning (mild chili seasoning if you don’t like as spicy)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large “thing” of tomato juice (you can get in either the plastic container photographed to save for future use, or you can use the tin can version as well – will need approximately 40+ ounces, either way you go)
  • 1 box of beef stock (you don’t *have* to use this, and can just use more tomato juice instead, but it really enhances the beefy flavor of it)
  • one glass of wine, as per photo. **

**you don’t actually need a glass of wine for the recipe at all, I just enjoy having one while I’m cooking.

Start by heating up whatever vessel you would cook your chili in; I prefer a dutch oven (as you will see photographed – it sounds a lot fancier than it is), but a large pot will do just fine. Preheat it to a medium high or so.  When it’s hot, add in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add the finely diced onion and sauté til the onions get a bit translucent


Then add in the pound of ground turkey.  Don’t TOUCH it until you can see it turning color on the edges.  Let it brown up and don’t fuss with it.


Once it it is completely browned, as pictured below, add in the full can of tomato paste and stir it around.  Once that’s cooked out (you can start to smell the tomato — should take only a minute or two), add in the chopped green pepper and jalapeño.


After you let that cook together for a min, add in between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup of beef stock.  Use this opportunity to scrape up any bits of brownness from the bottom of the pan.  You may be panicked because it looks like the bottom of the pan has a bunch of brown stuff on it… nope, that stuff is just extra FLAVOR!  So scrape it up as you add in the beef stock (or tomato juice, if you don’t want to use or don’t have the beef stock).  At this time, stir in the packet of chili seasoning and add in the can of beans, and 2/3 of the large thing of tomato juice.  Stir it all together and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes.  The longer you cook it, the more flavorful it becomes.  I let mine cook this time for about an hour before eating.  (You can actually cook in the morning if it’s more convenient, throw the whole thing in the crockpot on low for the day, and then eat for dinner and it’s even more flavorful.  And chili leftovers? Ummm amaze. :))

Here is the finished product.  I like to enjoy mine with a sleeve of saltine crackers, a bag of oyster crackers, and a tall glass of milk.  Don’t even ask how I get around those veggies. 😉  Cheddar cheese and sour cream (sounds weird, but delish) are also a great accouterment, as pictured below.




xo, tess


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