Three-Bean Turkey Chili Con Carne

FullSizeRender-1It’s safe to say soup season is officially upon us, and this staple chili recipe is perfect for a filling lunch or a hearty dinner when the weather turns nippy. This is such a fave, that frankly, I’m surprised I’ve not posted it yet! Although, I need to give a disclaimer here. It used to be a family favorite for for everyone in our household, but when I first went back to working full-time a dozen years ago, I was hard-pressed to come up with recipes to throw on the table in a hurry after 5 p.m. I had previously been freelancing from home, and could putz in the kitchen between projects. That luxury was lost when I had to be elsewhere from 8-5. Sooooooo… I would whip up a batch of this chili in the evening or weekends to have on hand for dinner. But apparently, I relied on this a little too much, and my sons started groaning, “Chili, AGAIN???”

We took a much-needed break from chili, and I found other recipes I could make in a snap when we needed to eat and run to guitar lessons or hockey practice, etc. (Many of those fast favorites have been posted on this blog.) Were my offspring a little harsh on me regarding this dutiful recipe? I think so. Especially when my son Brandon made this for a church youth group chili cook-off fundraiser, and won the coveted first prize trophy—an ancient can of beans glued to a block of wood bearing a “First Prize” plaque. (Helped that he’s stinkin’ cute and there were lots of teen girls voting…) Who’s dissing my chili NOW, huh?

The original recipe came from my Mom’s friend Arlene, one of those women who always makes great food. I believe she got the recipe from the St. Paul Pioneer Press sometime in the 70’s, but I’m not sure. (Feel free to comment, Arlene!) I’ve altered to suit our changing tastes, and now use turkey instead of hamburger, and have added black beans (unheard of among suburbanites in the 70’s), butter beans, more vegetables, and some additional seasonings. Serve this with the Corn Bread recipe previously posted, and you’ve got a winning combination. Maybe even first place.

Serves 10-12 (But freezes well, if that’s more than you need!)

Rating: Easy

1-1¼ pounds ground turkey (or hamburger)
1 medium or large yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped (optional)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans with cumin and chili spices (do NOT drain)
2 cans corn
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
1 (15-16 ounce) can butter beans
1-1½ tablespoons regular chili powder
1 tablespoon chili con carne seasoning (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½-2 teaspoons salt


Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped scallions
Sour cream

In large fry pan, cook turkey until no pink remains. Put into large Dutch oven, or other large pot in which you will be simmering your chili. Using same fry pan, sauté onion for 2-3 minutes. Add green pepper, carrots, and zucchini (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent, and other vegetables are slightly softened.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and black beans to pot with cooked turkey. Stir in sautéed onion mixture. In colander, rinse and drain corn, kidney beans, and butter beans. Once drained, add to pot. Stir in chili powder, chili con carne seasoning (if using), cumin, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to simmer, and cook on low for 30-60 minutes. Serve with toppings. Or store in frig to serve later.

White Bean and Chicken Chili

FullSizeRenderIt was April in Minnesota and I was still seeing snowflakes out my window (noooooo!!!), so I decided soup was still on the menu. This recipe is not as heavy as a traditional chili, but more a cross between chicken soup and chili and is a whole meal in itself. I used to make it only when I had extra turkey on hand after Thanksgiving, but now I’ll buy a whole roasted chicken at the grocery store, and use that to get going on the soup. Make this when entertaining a crowd, or for a few, and freeze some for later. Since it’s not milk-based, it freezes really well. I found the skeleton of this recipe online years ago, but have tweaked and added to it so that it no longer resembles the original. The trace amount of ground cloves in the broth give a unique, yet compelling flavor twist to this southwestern-style soup.

Makes 8 servings

For soup:

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups ½-inch pieces cooked chicken or turkey
3-4 cups canned or homemade chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, or 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cans (15-16 oz. each) great northern beans, drained
2 cans (15 oz. each) corn, drained
2 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained


Blue or yellow corn tortilla chips, crushed
Sour cream (optional)
Grated Monty Jack cheese (optional)

Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion first until translucent, and add green peppers to sauté until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often. Stir in all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve soup with crushed chips and sour cream or cheese, if desired.

NOTE: This recipe is gluten-free if you make your own chicken broth, and use 100% corn tortilla chips.

Corn Bread

IMG_0718When my college-age son Mitchell called (a real live phone call! not a text!) to ask how I made my corn bread, I thought I’d post this fabulous recipe for everyone. My friend Mary Ericksen shared it with me after I complained about my dry, crumbly corn bread recipe. This is the best corn bread ever—it’s actually more of a corn cake, but let’s not haggle over the name. The addition of a generous amount of sour cream makes it moist and delicious. We love dipping wedges of it in a bowl of hot chili on a cold winter day, or munching on it with a slab of barbecued ribs. It’s also great slathered in homemade cheddar cheese sauce and served with a couple slices of ham.

Makes 8 servings

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup white flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt, if you want to cut calories)
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Spray round 9” cake pan, or 9”x9” square baking dish with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in large mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment. Beat just until all ingredients are combined, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and use spatula to smooth batter down a bit. (It will be thick.) Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Top of corn bread will be light golden brown when done. Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes or more before slicing and serving.