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Turkey Chili, Smoke Alarms and a Small Fire

Cooking and I have had our moments – many of them have been smoke alarm triggering moments! My kids associate the sound of a smoke alarm with “Mom’s in the kitchen!” That’s not an exaggeration. Moving into my new house 2 years ago, I had to learn to cook with a gas stove. I learned the hard way that recipes on paper that get bumped into the flame of the gas stove don’t fare well! So aside from loving this recipe because it’s healthy, simple and batchable, it also has the honor of having created the first real flames in my new kitchen! 
Now, I realize it’s post thanksgiving, which means everyone is pretty much turkey’d out, but stay with me here. I won’t disappoint! This turkey chili was a must-have when my 3 boys were growing up, because I could make a big batch and freeze half of it for a later meal. The original recipe called for beef and pork sausage, so I simply replaced that with ground turkey and turkey sausage. I also add shredded/chopped vegetables (a great way to sneak vegetables into your family’s diet) and I use low sodium brands of canned beans. The result is a really big batch of freezable, tasty, healthy chili. Because I’m not big on exact measurements, every batch of my chili has a little different taste to it. But….every batch is fabulous!! No really. It is!
This recipe is a little more time consuming than most of the recipes I use, but it’s worth every minute. You can knock out meal prep for several meals all at once.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. Ground turkey breast 
2 lbs. ground turkey sausage
1 TBLSP olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup baby Bella mushrooms de-stemmed and chopped
1 large can of low sodium V8 (I use Knudsen’s organic Very Veggie juice, low sodium)
2 – 15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans (drained and well rinsed)*
2 – 15 oz cans of black beans (drained and well rinsed)*
2 – 15 oz cans of pinto beans (drained and well rinsed)*
2 – 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans (drained and well rinsed)*
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes, no salt added
1 TBLSP ground cumin
1 cup (?) each of shredded vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, chopped broccoli stems, broccoli florets (tops!) I usually stick with carrots, zucchini and broccoli florets, and the total for all of the added vegetables is about 3 cups. 
I add A LOT of other random seasonings such as chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, dried oregano. I don’t measure!

DIRECTIONS:
• Brown the ground turkey breast and turkey sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain, and set aside.
• Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add celery, onion, and mushrooms. Sauté until celery softens and onions are slightly translucent. 
• In a really large soup pot, combine turkey, celery, onion and mushroom. 
• Add V8/Veg juice, all canned beans, and all spices. Stir.
• Simmer on low until added vegetables soften.

Serve with low fat sour cream or plain fat free greek yogurt, sliced avocado, and home baked corn chips**

*I use the “simple Truth” brand of canned beans. They have less sodium than even the top brands “low sodium” versions.
**To make corn chips – Using small soft corn tortillas, cut tortillas in ½, then in pie shaped pieces. Spread them on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Watch them closely. When they start to brown, turn them and put them back in the oven for another minute or two.