October 16th, 2010

The chilly fall weather has finally arrived, meaning that it’s chili season according to my records. Actually, I chose to feature this recipe because I’ve been thinking of Halloween earlier than usual this year thanks to UCI’s Shocktoberfest concert and other pre-Halloween festivities. If you’re wondering why I associate chili, out of all dishes, with Halloween, it’s because it’s tradition for my family. I’m not exactly sure why my mom chose chili as our annual Halloween meal, but I have to say, nothing really beats a warm bowl of chili after a chilly night of trick-or-treating.

This recipe isn’t the one my mom follows every Halloween, but it’s a healthier and certainly quicker substitute. Usually chili takes hours to slow-cook, so I wanted to search for the quickest chili recipe I could find to satisfy my chili craving and have a Halloween celebration away from home. Not only did I find a chili recipe that’s finished in 15-20 minutes, but the recipe happened to include ingredients that can only be found at Trader Joe’s! (What are the chances of that happening?) The best part is that there’s no need to combine various spices in this recipe. All you need to do is pour in two different salsas to get the right flavor. The corn and chile salsa (photographed below) is actually one of my favorites at Trader Joe’s. It’s a sweet corn, red pepper, and onion salsa with a kick that can also be used as a topping for salads or mix-in for omelettes. The chunky salsa, which is more like your typical salsa, provides the heat and the tomato base for the chili. Trader Joe’s, being the mastermind behind healthy and delicious groceries, also made both of these salsas fat free and ready to be enjoyed.

The ground turkey in this recipe works as a great substitute for ground beef with its higher protein content and lower fat and cholesterol content. If you’re a calorie counter, then you’ll be happy to hear that ground turkey also has fewer calories than ground beef. While turkey has several health benefits, its high protein content is particularly beneficial for metabolism, converting carbohydrates into usable energy.

The black beans and kidney beans provide a great source of fiber to prevent blood sugar levels from rising. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the darker the bean’s coat color, the higher its level of antioxidant activity, meaning that black beans and kidney beans have the highest antioxidant activity of all beans. This higher level of antioxidant activity is perfect for maintaining a strong immune system (especially during flu season!).

While this recipe does not call for any garnish, I just can’t enjoy my chili to its fullest without some toppings. Avocado, a healthy alternative to sour cream and shredded cheese, has oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat which actually helps lower cholesterol rather than raise it like sour cream and cheese would normally do. Trader Joe’s Vegetable & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips do much more than provide color and a crunchy texture. Don’t be fooled by the flaxseed’s tiny size; they’re actually filled with many of the most essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, to name a few. Warm up to this cozy dish on a chilly day & enjoy it without any guilty feelings!

Simple Turkey Chili
Adapted from The Unofficial Guide to Trader Joe’s
Makes 4-5 servings

1 jar Trader Joe’s Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa
1 jar Trader Joe’s Fat Free Chunky Salsa
1 lb ground turkey
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 ripe avocado, sliced (optional for garnish)
Trader Joe’s Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips (optional for garnish)

NOTE: If you’re not preparing this dish for a group of people, this recipe easily creates yummy leftovers that can be heated up in minutes.

Brown the turkey in a large pot. Stir in both salsas. Add both beans and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with slices of avocado and tortilla chips.

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6 Responses to “Chili for the Chilly”

  1. Kelley Mason says:

    This is great! All of your food looks so professional and delicious! I’m definitely going to make a vegetarian version of this with tofu…or maybe some pinto beans…yum!

  2. This looks so yummy! I will have to make this recipe soon! Your photos make me want to go out and buy the ingredients to make this myself right this instant!

  3. sasha ussef says:

    OMG! that chili looks so good! even though i stopped eating meat i will def try to make something like this and your other recipes have given me some new ideas as well.

  4. Jenna Benty says:

    Chili! One of my favorite meals! The pictures are beauuutiful and really make your blog look professional and allll the more appetizing. By the way, the layout is great!

  5. Edgar Cheung says:

    Great photograph. The chile certainly looks delicious and presentable. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe myself. Glad all the ingredients can be bought at Trader Joe’s. That definitely simplifies things.

  6. Thanh Le says:

    OMG!!! My mouth is like literally watering. I love chili, especially if it is extra spicy. I love Trader Joes as well. The quality is great and it is just so cheap!