recipe: slow cooker turkey chili

Last week, my sorority little Danielle reached out to her friends via Facebook requesting easy yet healthy meal ideas.  She needed something easy for busy weeknights when trying to find time for the gym, taking care of her little one and feeding herself and her hubby good food. My suggestion: “Soups, chilis and stews only get better in the days after you make them.”  The slow cooker comes to the rescue again!

This conversation must have been stored in my brain the rest of that week because I found a defrosted pound of ground turkey awaiting me Saturday morning.  By 8AM, I had all the ingredients for one heck of a post-yoga Saturday lunch in the slow cooker.  Normally I curse my internal alarm clock for having me up by 7AM on a weekend – not this time!

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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Serves approximately 6 or so hearty bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of  petite diced tomatoes with chipotle
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (29 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • a hearty shake of Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning
  • a hearty shake of onion powder (because I didn’t have a real onion)
  • a minimal shake of cinnamon
  • a shake of sea salt
  • shake of black pepper

METHOD

  • Turn on your slow cooker to high.
  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Do your best to equally distribute everything.
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and step away from it for four hours (or until the turkey is cooked through). Don’t lift the lid!
  • When chili is ready, scoop desired servings into bowls.
  • Serve with whatever moves you: rice, tortillas, corn chips, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, Oyster crackers, hot sauce…

Help my sorority sister out: what’s your go-to tip for healthy weeknight dinners?

CLEfood: Michael Symon’s Lolita Restaurant

This past weekend, my friends Erin and Brian were up from Columbus and we were overdue for one of our Cleveland nights out. This time, instead of sending over my list of potential suggestions, Brian had his heart set on a Northeast Ohio favorite: Michael Symon’s Lolita in Tremont.

Our previous visit to Lolita was three years ago – this month exactly – so it definitely a welcomed suggestion.  We checked out the dinner menu online ahead of time where I was happy to find gluten-free indications listed. While some of them were incorrectly labeled as not-gluten-free (when they were) and vice versa, it at least gave me some comfort knowing that the restaurant was ready for someone with my kind of ordering situation.

With 7:30PM reservations, we were sat by 7:45PM – which on a busy Saturday night, I was understanding about. I used to be a hostess – I don’t envy those in that position at one of the most popular spots in Cleveland. Another server other than our own got us set with drinks: white wine for me, red wine for Hans, and Erin & Brian split a Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale. They were very excited to find that option on the drink menu.

For starters: they split the Warm Olives with fennel, chiles, oregano and olive oil, which was happily consumed.

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I opted for the Roasted Beet Salad with apple, pistachio, ricotta salata and truffle vinaigrette.

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The beets were that vibrant and quite delicious. Even Hans – not usually a fan of beets – enjoyed a few bites.

For his main, Hans ordered the Pork Sausage Pizza with tomato sauce, chile, house mozzarella and roasted sweet peppers.

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In true husband fashion, he demolished the entire thing. Guess he liked it!

Brian chose the Buccatini with pulled pork, pancetta, organic egg yolk and pecorino.

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Brian was kind enough to share and my fellow three diners were all fans of this pasta option.

Erin went with the Ravioli with beef shank, mushrooms, beet greens, bone marrow and grana padano.

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Seriously – with beef shank and bone marrow, how do you go wrong?

I was happy to try the Roasted Chicken with salsa verde, chickpea puree, carrot, radish and orange.  For my side, I opted for the broccolini (not pictured).

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This portion of protein was generous. I took half of it home, happily consuming all my veggies and leaving with a full belly.

For dessert, Erin and Brian split the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with 
chocolate brioche, white wine poached pears,
 hazelnut ice cream and milk chocolate caramel (again, no picture – sorry).  They both made that “OMG-this-tastes-so-good” face while enjoying their last course, especially noting how they really loved the hazelnut ice cream.

LONG STORY SHORT: Like our first visit, we left feeling quite satisfied with our meals at Lolita. While keeping up with a busy restaurant, the staff were great at keeping our meal moving yet giving us the chance to enjoy ourselves. I said this last time and mean to keep it this time: I will return more often in the future – especially for that $5 happy hour!

Lolita on Urbanspoon

recipe: slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

Some folks put serious time and consideration into their recipe creations.  My slow cooker recipes stem for a place of “what the hell do I have in my pantry?” This is one of those recipes.

Poor Hans. Per the conversation we had that morning, he thought he was getting something with Italian flavors. But upon discovery of no canned diced tomatoes but plenty of black beans and corn, I took a turn toward Mexico for this soup that stewed all afternoon and filled our bellies that night.

This soup is perfect for the new year. It has plenty of veggies and lean protein – great if you’re trying to stick to that new year resolution of embracing a healthier lifestyle. Plus this recipe makes so much, you’ll have plenty of leftovers – and we all know soup tastes better the next day!

Serves five LARGE bowls (probably about 10-12 cups)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SOUP:

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds of  boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • chili powder, to taste
  • cumin, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Turn on your slow cooker to its “high” setting.
  2. Place chicken breasts at the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover the meat with the rest of the ingredients listed.
  3. Place cover on slow cooker and let cook for approximately four hours, making sure that the chicken is cooked through completely.
  4. Shred the chicken using a fork and tongs. Add additional seasonings as needed. Serve soup with accompaniments listed below.

ACCOMPANIMENTS FOR SERVING:

  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Black olives
  • Chives
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips or taco shells

What’s your favorite winter time soup recipe? Have other ideas to include to serve with the soup? Share them in the comments for everyone to enjoy!

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