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Chunky Turkey Chili

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When people who meet me today find out I used to tip the scale at over 450 pounds, they want to know how I lost all the excess weight. Many are disappointed when I let them know I did it the old fashioned way (through diet and exercise) -- as opposed to using a magic wand. But if I had to assign the 'magic wand' moniker to one of the tools I used to get healthy, it would be to this flavorful chunky turkey chili recipe.

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This chili was absolutely one of my go-to meals while I was taking off over 250 pounds of excess weight. Besides being delicious, it's incredibly healthy and makes for great leftovers. It freezes, thaws and reheats (microwaves!) beautifully. So I always make a huge batch (and that's the recipe I'm sharing with you here).

Ingredients (in order of appearance)
5 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
3 White onions, peeled & chopped
2 (two) 7 oz. cans of diced green chilies (mild or hot -- your choice)
3 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped (can also used jarred, but without added oil)
4 tbsp. chili powder (more if you dare)
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (more if you dare)
2+ lbs. lowfat ground turkey
1 (one) 6 lb., 6 oz. can (or several cans that equal the same) of ready cut diced tomatoes (in their own juice, no added sodium if available)
4 large bell peppers, chopped

Directions
In a large pot (the bigger the better), add the olive oil and chopped onions. Cover and cook over medium heat for several minutes (until the onions begin to soften).

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Next, add the garlic, chili powder and cumin. Mix it up and then add both cans (liquid and all) of the diced green chilies to the diced onion. Cook covered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Next, add the ground turkey -- making sure to mix all of the meat into the mixture while keeping the turkey from "clumping" together (work to break it up into loose pieces/bits). Continue to cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (and de-clumping the turkey when necessary).

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Once the turkey is cooked through, add the canned tomatoes and chopped bell peppers, mix thoroughly, then cover and cook on high heat until the contents reach a boil. As soon as you see that your mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to LOW and cook for about 20 minutes more so all the flavors mix together and blend to perfection.

Makes approximately 18 servings

Add a small green salad with carrot shavings and balsamic vinegar along with two to three multigrain crackers to create a complete meal.

After preparing this big batch of chili, I divide it into portion sizes (usually two per storage container) and then, after the containers cool off, stick them in the freezer. After a day or so of thawing (in the fridge) you can zap it in the microwave for a quick, delicious dinner anytime during the week. (You can even store single size portions and take the chili to work for an easy and delicious, microwavable lunch!)

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It should be noted that this stuff is so good that you can even serve it to your friends who aren't on a diet. (Trust me -- they'll never know they're eating something super healthy.) I've even made a big batch of this recipe as a dip for parties and served it with multigrain chips along with light sour cream and cheese on the side.

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