It may seem pretty arrogant to call this my “famous” chili recipe – but that is what my kids named it so the name has stuck! They LOVE this recipe and so do children everywhere, and adults, too! This makes a huge meal that is allergen-friendly so it is my family’s go-to meal for large family events, camping field trips, freezer meals, bringing to other families when they need a meal, etc. This is a great and healthy meal to have in your recipe arsenal, especially if you have picky eaters to feed.
My oldest would eat any kind of veggie up until he turned three. But something switched at three and he started turning his nose up at any and every vegetable out there. He still claims to “hate vegetables” except for lettuce drenched in ranch dressing even though he is now seven. He still must eat at least a few bites each night, but I love meals where I can trick him into eating much more. This is one of those meals. This chili is loaded with veggies – the trick is to chop them very, very small – I use the “wet-chop” method with my blender for this and it is super quick. A food processor would also do the job well. You can even do it by hand and get some good exercise in while making dinner. Just make sure the veggies are so small they are not recognizable – that is the trick with picky eaters.
This is a Trim Healthy Mama E (for Energizing) meal, so it is naturally low in fat and high in healthy carbohydrates centered around a protein source, of course. I am a “Whole Grain Jane” so I naturally gravitate to E meals. Healthy carbohydrates are a very important part of a balanced diet and one of the reasons I love THM is because they do not shy away from them. This meal can easily be made a cross-over (to include more fat) for your growing kids, slim husband, or if you are at or near goal weight or pregnant/nursing. I love this as a crossover, but usually have it as an E.
Building the Chili Base:
- 1 lb ground turkey (if you want this to be a THM E-meal, it must be 97% lean or more)
- 4-6 celery stalks
- 1 large onion
- An assortment of veggies of your choice which may include:
- yellow squash
- small eggplant, or half of a large one
- bell pepper
- anything else you want to put in it
- 3-4 Tablespoons Chili Powder (to taste)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Cumin (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
All of the following ingredients are in cans, so this base can be frozen or brought along on a camping trip. It makes a very quick meal to add the cans for a quick “from scratch” dinner.
Add to the base:
- 1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 – 10 or 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies
- 5-6 cans of beans of choice, drained and rinsed (black, pinto, kidney, navy, and garbanzo are all good options)
- 1 – 15 oz can of corn (or 1.5 cups frozen corn will work)
- First finely chop the vegetables you are going to use. If you only use celery, onions, and bell peppers, you will have a decent base, but I like to add as many veggies as possible.
- Brown your turkey in a large pot. If you are using turkey with more than 3% fat, you can drain and rinse the browned meat with very hot (boiling) water to strip the excess fat for a good E meal. This is not necessary if you want a crossover meal.
- Add the chopped veggies to the browned turkey and mix well, stirring often. The veggies get soft and start to cook and steam, shrinking in the pot and blending in with the turkey meat.
- Add the spices to your desired spiciness. I use the spices separately for a taco-like flavor so that the meal is allergen friendly – I do not make this with pre-made taco seasoning. However, if you always use pre-made taco seasoning, you can use that in place of the spices.
- Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes with chilies and stir well. Drain and rinse the beans and corn and add to the pot. Stir carefully at this point because your pot is likely very full and thick. Add water to your desired consistency. We like this thick, so we only add about 2 cans full of water for a very hearty chili. Let it heat through and the flavors marry for at least 15 minutes.
- Serve this up. Your main dish and veggies all fit in one bowl! You may garnish with plain non-fat Greek yogurt for an E, or add sour cream and cheese for a yummy crossover. We generally get two good sized meals for our family of 5 with this one pot of chili! Enjoy!
Don’t worry too much about going back for seconds with this meal – it is so loaded with veggies that you can have up to 3 cups of this chili and still be within the healthy carb limit for THM E-meals. If you want to have the meal with some on plan baked organic blue corn chips, you will have to have less chili, but even one (or two) cups of this hearty chili is very filling!
I hope your family enjoys this as much as we do!
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