Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summertime and the chili's simmering..

I am fully aware that there is still technically well over a month of summer left. The central air is on, the hydrangeas are (finally) starting to bloom, and we have a freezer full of italian ice. However, I made chili twice in the past week and there is not a leftover in sight.

Chili is a big hit in our house and I'm proud to say that the reason is not because I don't know how to cook anything else, although it used to be. We have both been itching for the first signs of fall and this was it. If you could see the look on Jeff's face when I tell him that I'm making chili, you would know that all is right in the world.

I usually make it on the stovetop but since I've fallen in love with my Crockpot (and stopped being afraid to leave it on while I wasn't home) I've discovered a whole new world. This the easiest recipe to begin with but when you throw the Crock in the mix, it's not even fair. I know that I'm a bit late to the party but I'm not sure how I lived so long without owning one of these badboys. My dear Crock was inherited from my future mother in law and I'm hoping we'll get another when we get married because there's no telling what I could do with two Crockpots going on the counter. I digress..

Before Jeff was diagnosed with Celiac, I used the chili seasoning packet from Ortega or McCormick. Since this was pre-diagnosis, I wasn't checking labels but after buying a life time supply at BJ's, I realized that one of the first ingredients was wheat. On a quest to bring normalcy back to our kitchen, I decided to make my own seasoning. WHAT. A. DIFFERENCE. Jeff said that my chili is not only my best meal but his all-time favorite meal. This is a great compliment, even from a man who will eat anything you put in front of him without coming up for air.

Chili Seasoning

Adapted from All Recipes


4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper or 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. white sugar
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix all seasonings well. Add 2 tbsp. for every pound of ground meat.

This will make enough for two batches, but double, triple, as necessary. I make a huge batch and put it in a jar so that I can just scoop out what I need. I also tweak the salt and sugar when I'm making larger batches. I just dip my finger in the seasoning to see if it is too sweet or salty and modify as necessary.



1 pound ground turkey
32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
16 oz. can tomato sauce (plain)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
16 oz. can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa
Frank's Red Hot sauce (optional)

1. Brown turkey on stovetop until fully cooked and drain the fat.

2. Move the turkey to a large pot on stovetop or the crock pot. Add canned tomatoes, kidney beans, salsa, onion, tomato, and seasoning. Stir well.

3. Simmer on low for at least 30 minutes on stovetop or 4-5 hours in Crock pot. Add Frank's Red Hot to taste after it has simmered a bit. Too much too soon and it will be really spicy!

To make this kid-friendly, adjust the spices.

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