No B—(bean) Turkey Chili

I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but I can say this. Last week I made one of the world’s easiest bean free chili recipes. Plus bean objectors, due to digestive or regional origins, can’t possibly take issue with the stomach warming blend of cumin, chili AND chocolate! In this case it is cocoa powder and brown sugar, but if you have an ounce of bittersweet, trade it out. The math tutor watched me throw the whole kit and caboodle (kaboodle?) together in about no time. Chili is stew…you add this and that, whatever you have, spicy or not depends on your crowd. This chili is less so, mostly because I forgot the jalapenos at the store and I was too chicken to add more than a quarter teaspoon ground chipotle. One of my dear friends made it to share. It is so potent I keep it in double zip top bags.

A word here on the food processor. I love it! It is one of my best friends in the kitchen, right next to the microplane grater, but after Ben & Jerry (those guys have been such great company). By all means, chop veggies by hand if it’s rewarding. If not, process away. In soups and stews especially-no judgement.


2 lbs lean ground turkey

1 small can fire roasted tomatoes

2 small onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

Veggie oil

1 tablespoon –ish oregano

1 tablespoon-ish cumin

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 tablespoon brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground chipotle

2 bay leaves

Salt pepper

In large heavy bottom pot (hello Le Creuset-xoxo) over medium heat, add enough veggie oil to slimly cover the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped onion with a sprinkle of salt, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper, cook 2 more minutes. Throw in ground turkey, browning and cooking through. Combine tomatoes and all of the dry ingredients in the pot, plus ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook for at least ½ and hour, an hour is better. Keep an eye on the liquid, adding water as needed to keep meat from drying out and/or burning. That’s it. Adjust seasonings, salt & pepper as necessary.

Great by its lonesome, over rice, with pickled jalapenos, cheese, sour cream etc. I brushed some corn tortillas with veggie oil, sprinkled with salt and cooked till crispy in 350 oven. Like GIANT tortilla chips and dip.

Dig in – B


Bold Flavors, Soft Tacos

It always pays to have a plan. My goal? Make sure the kids eat vegetables intentionally or not, and bribe my son's friend who is staying with us through food. So I set my plan in motion weeks ago asking for a list of his faves. I got back a string of ingredients and a nod toward junk food. Ingredient suggestions in hand I planned the menu for the week. I don't always make a menu, but when I do, food production feels less like a chore. (Admittedly grocery shopping Sunday night wasn't all that…except for the company 🙂

Tonight – crowd pleasing soft tacos! I can't tell you exactly what was said, enough to say there were no leftovers.

Mea culpa. I bought a taco seasoning pouch. Confession. I was too paranoid to use it. Two ingredients I didn't recognize and we were already fighting a potential allergy in the house.

As an alternative, I offer this super simple any night of the week supper.


1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef, or turkey

1/2 large onion chopped

1 teaspoon Veg oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

Sprinkle cayenne

1 tablespoon cornmeal

10 oz. can tomatoes with chiles, mild



Soften chopped onion in oil in large skillet. Salt & pepper. Add ground beef, cooking the pink out of it and breaking up chunks. Season with chili powder, cumin, cayenne. Stir 1-2 minutes. Add cornmeal and mix. Add tomatoes & chiles. Cook 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The fixins: shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, pickled jalapeños, whole whet tortillas (cover stack with damp paper towel and zap 30-45 seconds in microwave)

Make it your own with your best toppings – guacamole? Sour cream?

Enjoy – B


A Mostly Meat Free Monday

Let’s preface this by saying, I really did not feel like cooking tonight. I didn’t want to make the planned stir fry. I didn’t want to celebrate meatless Monday. I didn’t want to leave the sofa or the bodice ripper that got delivered to the office among the cookbooks.

That said, I got up and did it anyway. I skipped the prep and chop of stir fry, going Mexican instead. Lighter chicken enchiladas are a fam fave. I borrowed the sauce from Martha Stewart, but made veggie stuffed corn tortillas all on my own. This sauce uses chicken stock. Meat free sticklers feel free to use vegetable stock.
Don’t tell anyone south of the border, but I used last night’s leftover rice pilaf as a base. I sliced and sautéed another giant onion, a bell pepper, and let a few handfuls of spinach steam with the whole kit and caboodle. Salt & pepper to taste. Use a little sauce to bind the filling. Wrap 8 corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and zap in the microwave for 30-ish seconds. Stuff the tortillas, lay in an 8 inch casserole with more sauce top and bottom, and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven until bubbly.

Dig in, B