Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Image source: Kalyn’s Kitchen

When the temperature dips below 20 degrees F and we’re covering our faces not because of a virus, but because our cheeks may freeze, hot comfort food is in order! I’ve posted recipes for Vegetarian Chili and Beef Chili, but Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes is my new favorite warm-up-in-cold-weather recipe. I made this Turkey Chili in a crockpot, but it can be cooked on a stove. Have extra? Freeze it for another-ummm–chilly day. Do you make Turkey Chili? Do you add sweet potatoes? Have suggestions for other ingredients to add?

Stay warm, hon.

Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (I used one can diced tomatoes and one can crushed tomotoes)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup water or 1/2 cup beef broth and 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (adjust if you like things more or less spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (yup–cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions:

1.  Brown ground turkey.

2.  Place browned turkey and remaining ingredients in crock pot, stirring to blend.

3.  Cover and cook on low setting 6 hours.

Don’t have a crock pot?  Don’t worry.

1.  In a frying pan, saute ground beef and onions until soft.

2.  Drain off fat.

3.  Transfer mixture to a large pot.

4.  Add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil, them simmer, covered, approx. 45 minutes. Chili’s ready when sweet potatoes can be sliced easily.

Yield:  Approx. 8-10 servings.

Hearty and Healthy Beef Stew

Cold Weather Comfort Food

I’ve made Beef Stew before, but wanted to change it up. Researching other recipes, I found some that simmered in a crockpot and some that baked in an oven. (Yes, you read right. Who knew?). I decided to use a crockpot, combining recipes for Ina Garten’s “Ultimate Beef Stew” (Food Network) and Chungah’s “Slow Cooker Beef Stew” (Damn Delicious). The only addition needed? A loaf of bread. This combination requires a bit of prep time, but it’s now my go-to Beef Stew recipe because it was hearty, healthy, savory, and delicious! Plus, there was enough leftover for future meals. Yay!

Hon, hope you find your own comfort during this strangest of holiday seasons.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups chopped fennel*, trimmed and cored (1 large bulb)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including the juices
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 pound carrots (4-5 carrots), scrubbed and cut 1/2 inch thick diagonally
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (2 large potatoes), scrubbed, 1-inch diced
  • 2 celery stalks, cut diagonally into slices
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 10 ounces frozen peas
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Season beef with salt and pepper, to taste. Add beef to the skillet and cook until evenly browned, about 2-3 minutes. (Tip: Drain cooked beef on paper towels before adding to crockpot. If there’s a lot of oil left in skillet, once it cools, wipe it down before heating up wine.)
  3. Place beef, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and peas into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire, thyme, paprika, turmeric, and bay leaves.
  4. Heat 1/3 cup of the wine in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, fennel, garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Stir tomato paste and diced tomatoes into the vegetables. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Add to crockpot. Stir ingredients until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.

Notes:

–The original recipes call for less meat, but I used 3 pounds so that there’d be enough for now and later.

–If, like me, you’ve never cut fennel before, click here to watch Melissa Clark’s video. Now I know!

Yield: Approximately 8-10 servings.

Still Chilly Chili

Chili in the crock pot.
Chili in the crock pot.

It might be Spring, but you’d never know it.

Yesterday in Alaska–umm, I mean New Jersey, schools were dismissed early, car windows needed scraping and driveways needed shoveling.  Backing out of my San Francisco-like driveway required expert driving (thanks, Hubby) so that the car wasn’t totaled a few feet from the front door!

Our Arctic Zone weather requires comfort food, and I consider Chili a warmer upper.  Chili also reminds me of skiing, and since I’m the Queen-of-Connecting-the-Dots (see post Toasty Tushy Melts the I.C.E. for more dot connecting), I’ll tell you why.

When you’ve been skiing and you’re wondering if frostbite has set in, Chili is practically required medicine.  I’ve been to ski lodges where plugged in electric cords lead from walls to crock pots clustered on tables.  At lunchtime, simmering chili is ready to serve.  (Skiers are such trusting people!)

We recently went skiing and I decided it would be great if dinner was waiting for us when we came home.  Enjoy this recipe.  Hon, I hope, it warms you from the inside out.

A ski day is a good day!
A ski day is a good day!

I made extra a froze some for another time.
I made extra and froze some for another time.

Chili

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 (16-ounce) cans tomatoes (I used chopped tomatoes)

1 cup water

2 Tablespoons chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your chili, I used 1 Tbl)

1 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Optional:  2 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained; other spices, such as paprika, dried mustard or whatever you want to sprinkle in

Directions:

1.  In a hot frying pan, brown ground beef.

2.  Place browned ground beef and remaining ingredients in crock pot, stirring to blend.

3.  Cover and cook on low setting 4 to 6 hours.

Don’t have a crock pot?  Don’t worry.

1.  In a frying pan, saute ground beef and onions until soft.

2.  Drain off fat.

3.  Transfer mixture to a large pot.

4.  Add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil, them simmer, covered, 45 minutes.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Comfort Food Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup

Chicken soup isn’t just comfort food.

“The Science of Chicken Soup,” an article written by Tara Parker-Pope, reporting on several studies, explains why chicken soup has healing properties. This batch was especially delicious which, I think, was due to the addition of a sweet potato. I usually double the recipe and freeze* half so I can serve up a little comfort/ homemade medicine at a moment’s notice.  Whether you’re cold, sick, or just sick of the cold, try a bowl-full. C’mon, it’s good for you!

Happy cooking, hon.

Cheese cloth and kitchen twine.
Cheese cloth and kitchen twine.

Chicken bouillons.
Chicken bouillons.

Veggies for soup.
Veggies for soup.

Chickens tied up in cheese cloth.
Chickens tied up in cheese cloth.

Soup pot.
Soup pot.

Soup anyone?
Soup anyone?

Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 large chicken, approx. 4 to 5 pounds or 2 smaller chickens, approx. 2 pounds each. I served these chickens for dinner and saved the carcasses for soup. I created a cheese cloth bag by wrapping each chicken in cheese cloth and tying the top closed with kitchen twine, leaving enough cloth on top so it would drape a little over the edge of the pot.

1 large onion, peeled

2 cup stalks celery

5 carrots, quartered

1 sweet potato, peeled

2 garlic cloves

2 to 3 quarts of cold water, depending on the size of your soup pot

chicken bouillon cubes that are the correct ratio for the amount of water you are using

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Directions:

1. Prepare chicken carcasses by creating cheese cloth bags and tying shut.  Place in soup pot.

2. Add crushed bouillon cubes to water and stir.  Pour bouillon water to pot and stir.

3. Create another cheese cloth bag for all the vegetables except the carrots.  Place in soup pot.

4. Add carrots and spices to pot.

5. Cover pot and bring mixture to a boil.

6.  Lower heat to simmer and cook for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Removed chicken and vegetable bags, letting the liquid drain from bags before discarding.

8. Serve soup with carrots.

Yield:  6 to 8 servings.

*Freezing:  Portion off the amount you want to freeze in a freezer-safe container, making sure not to fill to the top.  (Liquid expands when it freezes).  It’ll stay good in the freezer for months.