Warming Winter Meals Quick and Easy Chili three Ways
Chili is one of those uniquely American foods that is always popular. And why not? What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a piping hot bowl of homemade chili with your favorite crackers or cornbread?
There are probably thousands of recipes for chili – as well as contests, cook-offs, and celebrations all around the country. Some aficionados like their chili with beef, and seasoned so hot it’ll burn your tongue off. Others like theirs with chicken or turkey and not quite so spicy. Still others prefer chili with no meat at all. Chili is the perfect warming meal, and the possible variations are almost endless.
While many chili recipes require hours and hours of cooking time, these three simple versions are all built for speed and convenience using packaged ingredients, and can be ready to eat in about half an hour. They are not only fast, they’re also delicious, easy on the budget, easy to clean up after, and very filling. But wait – they can also all be done in the slow cooker so your nice hot bowl of chili will be ready for you when you get home from work or school. And because not everyone likes their chili with the same amount of heat, each person can easily adjust their own portion with hot sauce or added chili peppers.
Each of the recipes below will make about 6 average size servings. You can easily double or triple the recipes for tailgate parties and other gatherings.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time, Stove top: 15 minutes
Cook Time, slow cooker: 4 hours on high setting or 8 hours on low
Basic Recipe: Quick Turkey and Bean Chili
1-1/4 lb. ground Turkey
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 15 oz. can pinquito beans with garlic and cumin, undrained
1 cup chicken broth or water (1-1/2 cups for slow cooker version)
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1-1/4 oz. White chicken chili seasoning packet
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno peppers (more or less, to your taste)
Nonstick cooking spray
Stove top Directions:
Spray a 12” skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, and begin browning. While the turkey is browning, chop the onion and jalapenos. Add the onions to the skillet, stirring well into the turkey, and continue to cook until the turkey is cooked through.
In a separate medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ingredients and stir well. Add the the cooked turkey and the packet of seasoning mix and stir again, very thoroughly. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, making sure it is heated well-through and stirring a few times to prevent burning. The chili will be ready to eat at this point, but you can allow it to simmer on low for awhile if you like.
Slow Cooker Directions:
Brown the turkey as above, but do not add the onions or anything else to the pot. Instead, while the turkey is cooking, put all of the other ingredients into a slow cooker (NOTE: Remember to add the second 1/2 cup of liquid.) Add the browned turkey and stir the whole mixture very well. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
Variation 1: Quick Chicken and Bean Chili
Substitute 1-1/4 lbs. of cubed or shredded chicken breast meat for the turkey, and follow the above recipe. You can make this even faster by using fully-cooked, packaged or canned chicken breast.
Variation 2: Quick Vegetarian Chili
Leave out the meat, and replace it with a textured non-meat substitute such as SmartGround® or a similar product.
On a cold day, this is just such a lovely way to warm up – and it makes the house smell so good you might have the neighbors dropping by unexpectedly! Don’t forget to add your favorite garnishes like sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onions and salsa.