Turkey, Pumpkin, Fall Vegetable And White Bean Chili

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This turkey chili is one of those recipes that you can make over and over again during the fall and winter months. It’s hearty, warming and quite delicious! I play around with different ingredients and spices but this is the basic recipe. The key is to add lots of warming spices to the mix and make it as spicy as you want. I don’t eat beef or lamb so often use ground turkey as a substitute in recipes and I like its lighter flavor. If you are on a low-carb diet, this will be a full meal for you or you can add quinoa or brown rice as a side. To make it into a vegetarian or vegan recipe, simply omit the the turkey and replace with extra portabella mushrooms or cubes of butternut squash. It’s also a great recipe for a slow cooker. I prefer to brown the turkey first, then mix with the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker and leave on low heat for 8 hours. This recipe serves about 4-6 people and it keep really well in the fridge to be heated up as a quick dinner during the week.

Ingredients

1 pack organic ground turkey
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 small pack cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 bunch kale, cut into thin ribbons
1 red pepper, diced
1 large can whole plum tomatoes
1 small can navy or pinto beans
1/2 can organic pumpkin puree

Spices:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (to taste/optional)

Method:

  1. Heat a large skillet or large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground turkey and stir occasionally. Cook until brown.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, mushrooms and spices. Stir under softened.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, pumpkin, kale and garlic.
  4. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes on low heat until everything is cooked through and the flavors have developed. Add more spices (chili powder or cayenne) to taste.
  5. Serve alone in a bowl or with a side of quinoa or brown rice.
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Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats

Lasagne Boats

We had a wonderful week in North Carolina for Thanksgiving and we fortunate to be able to stay in a beautiful lake house in Lake Norman (thanks, Allison and family!) which had a huge and fantastic chef’s kitchen. I absolutely love cooking for crowds so I was in my element all week long.

The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to try out this recipe. Many members of the family are on a low-carb diet and I always like to try something new. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to try it. I have a bit of a thing for spaghetti squash right now! This is a low carb and low fat meal.

I love how everything is piled into the spaghetti squash “boats” so that you can exercise some portion control (although you may be tempted to steal a bit from your neighbor’s plate during the meal) and you can serve it with a light side salad. It does take some prep work but it can easily be prepared for the family as a weeknight meal. You can make them vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and replacing with some portabello mushrooms or eggplant for extra texture. Here’s my take on the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again this month!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (one half for each person)
  • 1 pack lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms – preferably baby bella
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. (You can prepare the squash in advance if you’d like) Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands.
  4. Wrap strands on a clean dish towel and squeeze until barely moist. This is a necessary step or the spaghetti squash boats will be really watery. Place spaghetti squash halves (or “boats”) onto a baking sheet.
  5. Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Make the spinach-mushroom topping. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the spinach and cook briefly (1 minute) until it wilts.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the spaghetti squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and half of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Make the tomato sauce: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds.  Add the can of tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  9. Spoon tomato-turkey sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash-spinach-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
  10. To brown the tops of the squash, broil/grill squash for 1-2 minutes under a high broiler/grill.