Easy turkey chili

So I know I have not blogged in, oh, forever!? Nursing school really sucks the fun out of life! LOL I kid. I actually love being in nursing school, just doesn’t leave much time for blogging or cooking! Anyway, this turkey chili is adapted from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I have made this probably 20 times or more (my way) and it doubles easily and freezes beautifully. I normally make a double batch, freeze half, and we eat the other half. You can spice it up however you like with some cayenne, but my kids don’t like the heat, so I normally don’t add much! This recipe is nice, too, because it can pretty much handle most veggies. I have been known to add carrots, celery, zucchini, etc – anything I have on hand and need to use up! The recipe written below is for one recipe (not the doubled one, just to be clear!).

Another quick note – if I double it, I usually brown the turkey in a separate pan because it makes a lot of liquid/grease and I don’t want that in my chili. Just one pound does not do that usually, but when you bump it to two, yeah…..

Tip: I freeze tomato paste in 1 Tbsp size lumps – freeze them on a plate and then pop them off into a bag. Easy to grab 1 tbsp when you need it for recipes like this!


Italian Turkey Sausage and Mushrooms over Polenta

This one doesn’t have a picture, but was so well received at our dinner table that I’m typing it up for myself so I remember what I did! This is a take off on a Cooking Light recipe, but I needed to make it dairy free. I also didn’t want to use just 2 links of sausage, so I doctored it up and made it my own! Came together nicely and everyone gobbled it up. It ended up being a 6 serving meal in our house but if you have big appetites, you could make it 4. At 6 servings it was a heaping 1/2 cup of polenta and a heaping 1 cup of the sausage mix. Next time I make it I will serve a nice crusty bread with it as well (we also had broccoli which complemented nicely!)

Italian-Style Cabbage Stew

As I mentioned earlier this week, I got a gorgeous head of cabbage in my farm bag from Front Porch Pickings. My husband is a good German boy (from Pittsburgh originally) and he loves cabbage!! I normally make haluski or slaw with it, but since it’s been so dreary out, I went looking for a soup recipe to fill our bellies. I found some inspiration online and tweaked some recipes until it fit us just right!

Use your giant soup pot – this makes a TON! I made the mistake of starting with a smaller pot and had to transfer… oops!! This soup is filling and chock full of good for you vegetables. And the calorie count can’t be beat!!

*Leave the cheese out for a dairy-free meal!


Spicy Sausage and Black-Eyed Pea Chili

Eesh. 4 whole months since I last blogged. Who am I?! The big little girl is at Grandma’s house this week and that allows a little more time in our schedule, so I decided to cook some dinner! Yay! I’ve been sick and needed something spicy to smoke all the germs out and this did the trick. This spicy chili incorporates two types of meat, some gumbo-inspired vegetables, and a Southern twist … black-eyed peas! Super filling, super spicy, and super delicious! Top with your favorite chili toppings – cheese, some onions, or sour cream and serve with cornbread for a fine meal!

One quick food note – if you’re not a connessuer of black-eyed peas (aka you are not from the South!), do not get confused when you go shopping for them. The sell them ‘seasoned’, like the Glory Brand. They are also sold plain:

See!? That doesn’t say anything but ‘black eyed peas’. They’re plain. That’s the kind you want. If you accidentally buy the seasoned kind, it’s ok, you can still use them, but leave the paprika out or you’ll have a giant smoky bowl of chili!

Also, if you’ve never cooked with andouille, do not be afraid!! I bought Aidells brand and they are sold in my store near the hot dogs and kielbasa. They’re fully cooked, so I just quartered them. There are 4 in the pack. You can use all 4 for sure, or save one to fry up with some eggs and potatoes (yum!).

Hope you enjoy!

(21) Parmesan Polenta with Sausage and Mushrooms

I need to get something off my chest before I review this recipe. Dear Cooking Light – what the hell kind of recipe serves FIVE?!? Weird. At the suggested serving sizes, I got 4 servings of polenta and 5 servings of sausage, which is fine because the baby will love the sausage serving. Ok, vent over.

This is a solid, quick, weeknight meal. I had it on the table in 30 minutes and there was little to no chopping, which is always a bonus!! I think this meal has potential, too. I think it would be great with some caramelized onions and a little fresh garlic in with the tomatoes. I also should have used fresh basil, but we’re budget cooking this week, so dried had to do (it was fine!). I added a touch of red pepper flakes because I only had sweet Italian sausages in my freezer.

The polenta was delish (I used regular old cornmeal, not ‘instant polenta’) and a beautiful soft contrast to the sausage and mushrooms. My only suggestion to you is to slowly add the cornmeal to the water and whisk while you’re doing it. Otherwise you’ll end up like a few clumps. I speak from experience here, I promise!

Parmesan Polenta with Sausage and Mushrooms

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, October 2000
Yield: 5 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup sauce and 3/4 cup polenta)

3 (3-ounce) links hot turkey Italian sausage
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 (8-ounce) packages presliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups water
1 cup instant polenta (such as Contadina)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pierce sausages; cut each diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Add the wine and mushrooms; cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove sausage from pan. Cook the mushroom mixture over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in the basil and tomatoes; cook 1 minute or until heated. Return sausage to pan; keep warm.

While sauce is simmering, prepare polenta. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in polenta, garlic powder, sugar, and salt. Reduce heat to low; cook until thick (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Serve with sausage mixture.

CALORIES 288 (30% from fat); FAT 9.5g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.6g,poly 2.4g); IRON 2.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 58mg; CALCIUM 95mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35.1g; SODIUM 689mg; PROTEIN 18.2g; FIBER 1.6g

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