3 Ways to Serve My Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

Appetizer with cornbread and chiliby Minette Riordan

I woke up Sunday morning with a crazy hankerin’ for a warm bowl of my healthy turkey chili. I love putting a pot of soup or chili on to cook early on a Sunday. It makes the house smell good all day long! Plus, I got these really cool samples to make Muffinmeals and had been wondering how to use them. What’s a Muffinmeal you ask?

“Muffinmeals” put cup-like holes in muffins or cupcakes making them easy to fill and decorate.  The cup fits any brand, make or model pan. Easy to use, the cup slides up or down and locks into place to make shallow or deeper holes.  Muffinmeals make unique creations such as pizza muffins, cheese bread stuffed with scrambled eggs, cornbread stuffed with chili or wheat bread stuffed with shrimp & crab Salad. See recipes and more at: www.cupcaqe.com

Here’s a cute video with creator Elke Quade and friend doing a demonstration.


But I digress, back to the Chili recipe! So Sunday morning, I was on a mission to make my healthy turkey chili and try out the Muffinmeal cups.

Like many of us, I am trying to feed my family healthier meals after the holiday eating craze, so I decided to make a turkey chili; you could just as easily make this with beef or make it vegetarian and use all beans. Notice that I have added a variety of vegetables to my chili. My kids are used to this and I don’t have to cut them up so small anymore. If you have small kids who don’t want to eat their veggies, try chopping them finely in the food processor and then adding them to the pot. Your kids will never know they are there!

Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe


  • 1/4 cup pure ancho chile powder (not chili powder with other spices added; you can usually find this in the Hispanic foods aisle.)
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cans black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1 can diced low-sodium tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles, mild

(I love spices, never measure and tend to be heavy-handed. Feel free to cut back on some of these spices if it seems like too much!)


1. Brown the turkey in the tablespoon of olive oil.

2. Add the diced onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

3. Add pepper, jalapeños, zucchini and squash and continue to stir until they begin to soften. They do not have to be cooked through at this point but you want to cook some of the water out of the vegetables so you don’t end up with soup instead of chili.

4. Add your spices and stir fry with the meat and veggies. This is one of the secrets to a super flavorful chili!

5. Add canned beans and canned tomatoes and mix well. If the chili seems too dry, add 1/2 cup of water or stock at a time. You don’t want the chili to be saucy, but if it’s too thick it will stick to the bottom of the pan.

6. Cook over low heat for at least 2 hours, the longer it cooks the more flavorful it will be!


After the chili had cooked for several hours, Maggie and I made a batch of cornbread to make our “Muffinmeal” cups to serve the chili in. This was so much fun and easy to use. One thing I learned was to put less batter in each muffin tin to make a bigger hole for the chili. But the kids thought it was different and exciting to eat their chili in a cornbread cup!

cornbread muffinmeals

I was thrilled that my kids and husband gobbled this up. In fact, I thought I was making enough for 3 meals but it only lasted for two. So much for eating less in 2012! These would make a great Superbowl Snack or buffet dish for any party as you can eat them with your hands without too much mess!

Being a busy working mom, it’s a challenge to get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table every night. I love cooking dishes that can be repurposed so they seem fresh and not just leftovers.


So on night 1, we had the Muffinmeals. We filled the cups with chili, covered with grated cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. The chili had enough veggies, we didn’t even add a side meal.

On night 2, I tossed some potatoes in the oven and we had baked potatoes covered in chili and cheese with a touch of sour cream. We also added a Caesar Salad this night, which my kids love!

Still have leftovers? This is a beautiful thick chili that makes a delicious burrito, better than you would get at Chipotle (and I love Chipotle!) I would use white rice, shredded lettuce, guacamole and salsa on my burrito in addition to the chili. Small amounts of everything are a good idea or you will have more on your plate than in your tortilla. Again, a one dish meal that is quick and easy to throw together!



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