Mom’s Kickin’ Chili

by Chrissy


Chili is just one of those cold, rainy day meals that you can cozy up with and feel completely satisfied. Maybe too satisfied, if you are like me and always have to go for a second helping because it is just so darn tasty. That is why i love it…but only when it’s home cooked.

I included that last line because it’s the truth. Lauren will tell you that I am somewhat of a chili snob and this is why: chili out of the can, from a fast food joint, or even from an upscale restaurant can be so unhealthy! Cooked with fatty beef, loaded with salt, and leaving out all the veggies really takes a toll on what is meant to be a hearty, nutrient-filled meal. You may as well order a burger and fries, unless you take a trip to the Whole Food’s soup counter or better yet, get cookin’!

My mom’s chili is loaded with veggies for nutrients, lots of beans and lean meat for protein, and of course slow-cooked for a big chili flavor. Once you try this recipe, you will not want anything else. This is my disclaimer for all of you who are about to become chili snobs. I would say sorry…but I’m not…and you won’t be either!

Here’s a nice and easy step-by-step chili method, that does’t require a fast food drive through, a reservation at a cowboy restaurant or a can opener and a microwave. Here we go!

First, finely chop carrots and a stalk of celery in the food processor. My mom shared with me that this addition of carrots adds a little extra sweetness that pairs well with the ground meat and tomatoes. Also, the added celery releases some natural sodium and fiber, and pairs well with poultry. This step is a no-brainer.


While dicing the veggies, you can brown the meat, which doesn’t look so appetizing when photographed, so I left it out.


After browning and draining the turkey, set aside and reuse the pan for sautéing the veggies.

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While this is cooking, drain the beans.


Add the veggies, turkey, beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper. Mix it up and let the Crockpot do the rest.


After a few hours of some Crockpot action, dish up, top off, and enjoy!



  • 2 lbs ground Turkey**
  • 2-3 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 3 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans of tomatoes, whole or diced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of cannellini beans (or pinto), drained
  • salt and pepper, to taste

**Little Yellow Note: If you prefer ground beef, go for it! My mom uses 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb. ground beef, but we went for the all lean mean ground turkey on this round of chili.


1. Peel carrots and coarsely chop, just enough to throw them into the food processor. Do the same with 1 stalk of celery and add to the food processor. Blend together for about 30 seconds, until they are finely chopped.

Little Yellow Note: This is a great way to incorporate more veggies, ever-so-secretly, into the mix. No one will even know it. I was so surprised when my mom told me she snuck a ton of carrots into chili. Who knew?

2. Brown the ground turkey in a large pan, breaking up the big chunks. It will take about 6-8 minutes to cook. Drain the fat/juices and set meat aside.

Little Yellow Note: There is no need to put oil in the pan before adding the meat. Instead, the extra fat will cook off, to be drained later.

3. Dice bell peppers, onion, 1-2 sticks of celery, and garlic. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add veggies and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add in the finely chopped carrots and stalk of celery to the pan, and incorporate for another minute or two.

4. Transfer sauteed veggies to Crockpot. Add all three cans of beans (drained), can of tomato sauce, cans of tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and stir together.

5. Crank up the Crockpot on high, and let cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

6. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

Little Yellow Note: We added some shredded raw white cheddar cheese and chopped scallions. It would also be good with some whole wheat pasta, macaroni pasta, rice, or even quinoa! My sister, Jen, served the same chili over quinoa and said it was a hit!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,


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One Comment to “Mom’s Kickin’ Chili”

  1. This is fairly similar to the recipe I’ve been using for a few years and I can attest to the fact that it is really fantastic! I have not used the food processor, however, and that looks good. I’m going to give your recipe a try the next time. :-)