Turkey Chili Tango

Trot around your kitchen, chop a few veggies, open a few cans and enjoy fabulous turkey chili soup.

easy weeknight dinner


OK, this is way too easy to be so delicious! I know I usually do everything from scratch, but this is one of those short cut meals. And we all need that from time-to-time. I always start with a few fresh veggies – usually peppers and onions to bump up the vegetable content. I have also used small diced carrots and that’s a great addition too.

chili soup


Don’t stress about changing the meat from ground beef to turkey. No one every seems to guess.
And I like the textural difference of having both the Mrs. Grimes beans in chili sauce and the regular dark red kidney beans, so I add both. But you do as you like.

If you are making this for a large crowd, increase the meat to two pounds and add at least one more can of Mrs. Grime’s chili beans. Then adjust seasonings to taste.

garnish with cheese

chili soup

So if you’re looking for a great tasting chili, give this a try.

Ingredients
1 TBS olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 pound ground turkey – or beef, your choice
1 15 oz can Mrs. Grime’s chili beans (regular seasonings)
2 cans – 15 oz each – diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion (or chilies if you want more spice)
1 15 oz can regular red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
1 28 oz oz can tomato sauce
1 TBS beef soup base (or 2 cubes beef bouillon)
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili pepper

Direction
Heat the olive oil until hot in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.
Add onions and peppers and cook over medium heat for several minutes until softened.
Remove the vegetables from the pot and add the ground meat.
Brown the meat while breaking it into small pieces.
Drain the fat off the meat.
Add the vegetables back into the pot.
Pour in the diced tomatoes, beans, and sauce and let the mixture come to a boil.
Add the rest of the ingredients and let the chili simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Adjust seasoning and serve alone or with potatoes, cheese or sour cream.

Note: This is an easy one to make and then pour into a slow cooker where you can leave it for hours. The ingredients will merge nicely and the sauce will thicken.

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Red Swiss Chard and Chicken

Do you ever walk by the endless aisle of multi-colored vegetables at the grocery store and wonder who buys all of it and what they do with it?

Red chard and chicken


Over the past year I’ve adopted a new vegetable occasionally to play with it in my kitchen. Recently, the red color of Swiss Chard drew me in and it landed in my grocery cart. Once home, I ate a bit of it raw and discovered it was rather bitter raw.

cut ribs and stems and chop


So I went looking for ideas and didn’t find too many online. But eventually, I came up with this idea to make it a main dish with chicken.

*Tip: Remove the stems and ribs of the chard and chop them separately. They are edible and do add a great texture, but if you cook them a bit longer than the leaves, it helps to soften them.

stirfry chicken first

gently cook veggies

add chicken and chard leaves

walnuts for garnish

Ingredients
2 TBS olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 TBS
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sizes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of Swiss Red Chard, with stems cut into small pieces* and leaves coursely chopped
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 cup white wine
4 oz lowfat cream cheese
1 TBS lemon juice
Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

Directions
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken and stir fry until it is almost cooked. Remove it to a bowl.
In the same pan, add onion and garlic.
Stir in stems and ribs of the chard and cook until softened.
Add wine, cream cheese, lemon, salt and pepper and cook until blended.
Add the leaves of the chard and the chicken back into the skillet.
Cook until leaves are wilted and chicken is finished cooking – about five minutes.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the dish as it is served.
Garnish with toasted walnuts.

The color will amaze you. The red from the chard seeped into the rest of the dish, but it was very tasty and really quite pretty.

Another new and scarry vegetable decoded and made into an elegant dinner.
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Zuppa Toscana – Tuscan Soup

My son the chef, Isaac, made this amazing soup while we were in Florida.

finished soup


It’s a much loved soup served at the Olive Garden and is infused with robust flavors and textures. Even 6 year old Clare and 7 year old Sophia slurped up every bite. Served with a hearty bread and some fruit it makes a perfect dinner on a chilly night. This is Isaac’s version and I hope you enjoy it.

start with two pans


Note: the soup uses a common technique of chopping three vegetables together, called a Mire Poix. In this case they were onion, carrot and celery.

Isaac in action

added mire poix

Oliver turns one – with Papa Ken

Nana Clare, Sophia, Kara and little Clare

Ingredients for a large batch of Zuppa Toscana Soup
2 pounds regular Italian pork sausage
1 pound bacon – sliced across into small pieces
4 stalks celery – diced
1 red onion – diced
2 large carrots – cut jullien into small pieces
80 oz chicken broth
4 large potatoes, washed, cut into chunks, but not peeled.
2 large stalks Kale, broken into small bunches.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions
In a large, heavy pot, brown the sausage with the carrots, onion and celery. Drain the fat.
In a separate pan, brown the bacon until crisp. Drain it.
Pour the broth into the sausage, vegetable mixture, or Mire Poix.
Add the potatoes and cook until nearly done, about 20 minutes.
Add the bacon and cream and bring temperature up.
Finally add kale and cook just until wilted.

Serve and wait for the compliments.

While we were in Florida, Oliver turned one, so I couldn’t resist a picture of him with his Papa Ken. After dinner the girls had a homework project so their mother, Kara, and I helped them sort a few pieces of it.

Creamy Chicken and Orzo in Cheese Sauce

My idea of comfort food is chicken and vegetables in a creamy cheesy sauce. Add rice or, in this case, the tiny pasta called Orzo and you have a one pan dinner that goes together in minutes and is tasty and soothing.

creamy chicken


A pesky ulcer is preventing me from eating too many spicy or acidic foods, so this was a good option. And with the cooler temps, it’s so great to have a warm meal each evening.

Ingredients
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 TBS oil
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup white wine
4 oz low fat cream cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp basil leaf
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup orzo pasta or white rice.

Notes: If you want to use brown rice, just cook it separately first and add it at the end.
To save time, just use a bag of frozen pre-chopped peppers and onions.

Directions
Heat the oil in a large pan.
Add the vegetables and cook until they are soft – about 8 minutes.
Remove the vegetables and add the chicken pieces to the hot pan.
Cook chicken until no longer pink inside.
Add the cheese soup, milk, wine and cream cheese and mix until blended.
Add the spices and the peas.
Add back the vegetables and simmer gently for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

If you want more spice, add red pepper flakes or chilli powder.
If you want more texture, add roasted pumpkin seeds, almonds or croutons.

This is a basic casserole that you can make in about 30 minutes in one skillet without turning on the oven.