Kitchen Confessions: Healthy turkey chili

Admit it. Somewhere in your freezer lies the uneaten remains of your 2016 holiday bird. You may have even promised yourself you would cook into a healthy soup, or even a creamy pot pie. Who’s kidding who? January is almost over and you know you have no plans for that freezer-bag of meat and bones! My prediction would be that the next time you clean out your freezer (December 2017?) you will find that thing and wonder what the heck is inside that frost-riddled freezer bag.

I’m here once again to guide you through this; consider me your unofficial “leftover whisperer” or at the very least, let me introduce you to a super easy, super healthy meal that you can cook up really quickly, even on a weeknight. If you’re someone who actually did use up the leftovers already, I think that this recipe would be equally amazing using a rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store, which is quick and economical!

As with all of my recipes, you can customize it to suit the palates of those who will be consuming. To control the “heat” you can add a spicy salsa or a milder salsa. Want to increase the veggie consumption? Add more veggies. Don’t like beans? Don’t add them! Are you more a fan of toppings for your chili? Jalapenos, cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream or plain yogurt, and don’t forget tortilla chips! The more topping choices you have, the easier it is for your peeps to make it however they want. Not that this recipe needs any help, but I know how people are these days!

Healthy Turkey Chili

3 slices of bacon, chopped

1 medium white or yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp cumin powder

2 tbsp chili powder

500g container of your favourite salsa

1 can chili starter flavoured tomatoes

1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

½ – 1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 can black eyed peas, rinsed (or whatever beans you like)

2-3 cups of chopped or shredded cooked turkey or chicken meat

Toppings: thinly sliced fresh jalapenos, chopped cilantro, sour cream or plain yogurt, lime wedges, tortilla chips

This is so easy to make, I’m not even kidding. Get a large pot on the stove and over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon bits to a plate lined with paper towels; don’t worry, you will come back to them. Drain all but a couple tablespoons of the bacon fat, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder and sauté until onions are translucent. The rest is so simple: add the salsa, canned tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, beans, turkey meat and the bacon bits you already cooked. Let this all cook over medium low heat until peppers have softened and the chili has thickened up, about 30-40 minutes. Serve with your favourite toppings. This recipe freezes really will for quick little lunches, and I have also made turkey nachos with it for a change a little switch up. Play around with the ingredients and have fun!

Shannon Yacyshyn is a recovering food blogger (the original Red Deer Foodie) who is passionate about trying new ways of cooking healthy foods in her kitchen. Find Kitchen Confessions Red Deer on Facebook.

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