One Meal, Two Ways: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili + Chili Mac

We continue our Resolutions for the Real You series with another Eat Better entry today, one that can take your initial meal through two nights of healthy eating. As a busy mom, I am constantly trying to come up with new ways to dress up leftovers for night two so the kids will eat it again without complaining and just as importantly, so I’ll have to spend less time in the kitchen. Check back here often for healthy first night recipes and second night disguises to get the most out of your family mealtimes.

Chili is a definite favorite in our house, and I generally always make ours with ground turkey versus beef. My favorite two chili recipes involve a lot of chopping and measuring and standing over the stove, and I just don’t always have time for that. If I know I’m headed into a busy day but still want to make sure we’re not eating frozen chicken nuggets for dinner, this recipe is a great go-to. There’s very minimal chopping, just a few minutes of sautéing, and then everything gets tossed in the slow cooker until dinner time. The kids love it, we love it, and it’s easy! This is one of the very rare times when I advocate using a powdered chili mix, generally I prefer adding the individual spices, but it’s great in this and keeps things really simple and quick.


This is all the prep work involved. Sauté up some onions, garlic and peppers while browning the meat and then add to all the other ingredients in the slow cooker.


Three out of three kidlets agree!

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (1.25 oz.) package of your favorite chili seasoning mix (I use mild to keep it kid-friendly but the level of spice is totally up to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Toppings: shredded part skim cheddar cheese, scallions, sour cream

Directions
Cook first 5 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain into a colander. Spoon mixture into a 5 1/2 qt. slow cooker, stir in all remaining ingredients until well blended.

Cook at high for 4-5 hours or at low for 6-7 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

Recipe originally adapted from Southern Living (April 2006 Issue)

NIGHT TWO
So you’ve done all your cooking last night and what you really want is to sit down to a marathon of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills instead of standing over a hot stove. Well too bad, you had kids. Those days are over. But what you can do is spend minimal time in the kitchen so the little crazy people that call you mom will have less time to destroy your house and everything in it while you do your best to keep them healthy.

We used to have enough of this recipe leftover to just have chili two nights in a row, but as the boys have gotten bigger, so have their appetites. Now, to make the meal stretch into two nights and to keep it different enough that they don’t complain, I like to add some whole wheat elbows to the chili to make it into chili mac. There is no real recipe here because everyone is going to have a different amount of leftovers, but just add enough pasta to bulk up the meal but not so much that you cancel out the sauciness of the chili. Top with shredded cheese and any other preferred toppings for a great second night meal.


Reheat the leftover turkey chili in a sauce pot and add the cooked whole wheat pasta right to it. Stir it in and let it simmer for about 5 minutes so the sauce can sink into the noodles a bit.

Add your desired toppings to get a healthy and super fast meal two nights in a row!

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