Chicken Fajitas

Today may not be Taco Tuesday, but yesterday was chicken fajita Monday!  Okay… no cool alliteration there, but that doesn’t matter because these chicken fajitas are fantastic!  We have an adorable fajita cast iron pan that we like to use so we can keep the chicken and veggies nice and hot throughout the meal – I highly recommend buying one if you eat as many fajitas as I do!

The seasoning I’m going to give you is enough for several meals worth.  I always like to make extra so I can quickly make fajitas on a whim (it happens quite frequently!).  Use whatever toppings you like – my favorites are salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and even taco sauce.  Maybe I’ll throw in some lettuce in there, too!  When it comes to chicken fajitas, anything goes!

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Chicken Fajitas

Active Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
TOTAL: 30 min

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 10-12 oz chicken breast, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp fajita seasoning (see below)
  • ¼ c water
  • 4-6 fajita tortillas
  • Desired toppings (sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.)

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions; saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add chicken to pan. Cook until chicken is done, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and add 2 Tbsp fajita seasoning and water.  Stir until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Add a couple spoonfuls of fajita mixture to tortillas along with desired toppings.

Fajita Seasoning:

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

Mix together in a small bowl.  Use desired amount in recipe.  Store in airtight container. (From AllRecipes.com; author: trmeeds.)

 

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

I’ve been trying to find new and more exciting things to eat for my weekday breakfasts.  Nothing too involved, since I don’t have THAT much time in the morning.  But cereal and English muffins, though tasty, get old.  And I am always STARVING an hour later.  I started making this fruit and yogurt parfait to go with my English muffins.  The fruit and dairy add some nutritional value to the meal that keeps me full… at least until 10 am snack time.  Normally, the parfait on its own would suffice, but now that I have a baby boy growing inside me, I need to eat a little more in the mornings, so I’ll usually pair it with some toast or an English muffin.

There’s plenty of granola options out there (some are even chocolately!), and you can use whatever flavors of yogurt and any type of fruit you want!  My favorite for breakfast is vanilla yogurt with mixed berries.  When I’m trying to be good, fruit and yogurt parfaits are perfect for dessert.  Dannon makes a Chocolate Raspberry Light ‘n Fit Greek yogurt that I LOVE – using that in my parfait, plus some chocolatey granola or even a crushed up chocolate graham cracker is SO good, you’ll almost forget that you aren’t eating that giant slice of cake… (almost).

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Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Active Prep: 5 min
TOTAL: 5 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 c granola
  • 1/2 c berries

Directions:

  1. In a small glass, layer half of the yogurt, followed by half of the granola and berries. Repeat layers.  Garnish with additional fruit, if desired.

Quick Shrimp Scampi

Lenten Fridays.  A chance to dust off those seafood recipes I usually forget about.  Don’t get me wrong, I love seafood!  I just eat a whole lot more beef and chicken (and cupcakes) than fish and shellfish dishes.

This shrimp scampi is super quick to make.  I try to avoid cooking on Fridays (usually I am just ready to unwind from the work week), but this dish is so easy and SO tasty, I don’t mind whipping it together.  I use fully-cooked, frozen shrimp to make it even easier.  Just thaw the shrimp in warm water for about 5 minutes before cooking.  Recipe is adapted from damndelicious.net.

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Quick Shrimp Scampi

Active Prep: 5 min
Cook time: 10-15 min
TOTAL: 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz linguine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb small, fully cooked shrimp, thawed
  • ¼ c chicken broth
  • ¼ c freshly-squeeze lemon juice (~1.5 lemons)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook linguine according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add linguine, shrimp, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Mix well and cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add lemon zest, parsley, and salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Serve immediately and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Mardi Gras King Cupcakes

Mardi Gras earlier this week!!!  I usually celebrate by eating all of my favorite sweets, since I pretty much always end up giving up sweets for Lent.  It was a good day to bring in these King Cake Cupcakes!  I am no Mardi Gras expert by any means, but I do know that the “King Cake” is traditionally a sweet and often colorful coffee cake.  A plastic baby (symbolizing baby Jesus) is hidden inside of the cake, and whoever gets the piece with the baby inside has good luck for a year… at least that’s the version I know of.  There are many different legends.  It’s a fun way to bring a little friendly competition into the workplace.  I decided to transform the idea into cupcakes – and boy were they great!

The cake is a moist cinnamon-swirl cupcake and is topped with a light and fluffy cream cheese frosting.  I tinted the frosting with the official colors of Mardi Gras (yellow, green, and purple), and decorated with colored sugar and sprinkles.  They were really fun and everyone at work enjoyed them!

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Mardi Gras King Cupcakes

Active Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 20-24 min
TOTAL: ~40 min, plus cooling and frosting

Ingredients:

 Cinnamon Cupcakes

  • ¼ c unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 c confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ c milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

 Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners and a second tin with 6 liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1.5 tsp cinnamon together. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture slowly, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling halfway full (~1/4 c of batter) and top with ~1 tsp cinnamon-butter mixture (allow to drip down sides). Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost as desired with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows).  Yields: 16-18 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until well-blended.
  2. Reduce speed to low and slowly add confectioner’s sugar, alternating with milk. Add vanilla and increase speed to medium-high, whipping until fluffy and well-combined.  Add additional milk or powdered sugar until you reach desired frosting consistency.

Decorating tips for Mardi Gras!

  • Tint your frosting with yellow, green, or purple (or all three!)
  • Garnish with plastic Mardi Gras beads or rings
  • Hide a plastic baby (symbolizing baby Jesus) in one of the cupcakes (NOTE: do this AFTER baking – just stick it into the baked cupcake, then frost).

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Do you ever go out to breakfast JUST so you can eat dessert for breakfast? You know what I’m talking about – strawberry cheesecake French toast…. triple chocolate pancakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips…. red velvet Belgian waffles…?  You know you do it.  I do it.  It’s one of the few many ways we get to enjoy even MORE dessert, “guilt-free.”  Because hey, it’s breakfast.

Yesterday morning, I wanted dessert for breakfast.  Something warm and cinnamony and super sugary was what my taste buds were asking for.  I thought about making cinnamon rolls with a nice sugary frosting, but good cinnamon rolls take way too long and I just didn’t have the time.  Waffles are pretty quick, so I figured, why not transform the taste of my favorite buttermilk waffle into that of a decadent cinnamon roll?!  I just had to tweak my waffle recipe a bit, then add some of the most DELICIOUS toppings (cinnamon and cream cheese… what is better than that?!).

So next time you want dessert for breakfast, just whip up these bad boys.  You just might need to double or triple the recipe… they’re THAT good!

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Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Active Prep: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3-5 minutes per waffle
TOTAL: ~30 minutes

Yield: 3 Belgian waffles (depends on the size of your waffle maker)

Ingredients:

 Waffles

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 4 Tbsp buttermilk powder (see note below)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 c water
  • 1 large egg, separated

Cinnamon Topping

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 1/3 c whipped cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add melted butter, water, and egg yolk. Whisk to combine.
  3. In another small bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the butter mixture to the flour mixture. Mix slowly and gently. Fold in the egg whites.
  5. Cook waffles in waffle iron according the manufacturer’s instructions. I used ¾ cup batter for each Belgian waffle. Top with cinnamon and cream cheese toppings.
  6. For cinnamon topping, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined.
  7. For cream cheese topping, whisk together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  8. Spoon or drizzle toppings onto warm waffles and serve immediately.

Stuffed Peppers

Whenever I think of the meals I ate growing up, stuffed peppers is a meal that takes one of the top spots.  It was one of the few things that my entire family loved and looked forward to.  My mom always baked half of the filling in a separate dish (aka NOT stuffed in a pepper) for me and my sisters (we weren’t too keen on cooked peppers… but she snuck some cooked ones in the filling!).  So we liked it that much more. 🙂

Since I have been obsessing over the sauce I made for the Chicken Parmesan the other night, I decided to incorporate some of that delectable flavor into a stuffed pepper – what could be better?  I used 85% lean ground beef to keep this dish flavorful.  I also cut down cooking time by making a quick batch of Minute rice – no need to wait 45 minutes for that brown rice to cook in the rice cooker!  These keep best when stored in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.

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Stuffed Peppers

Active Prep: 25 min
Cook time: 25 min
TOTAL: 50 min

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 8 medium green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Rice Mixture

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 c cooked rice (white or brown)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ c shredded mozzarella, plus extra for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Boil peppers for 5-6 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and let sit with peppers for an additional 5 minutes until peppers are tender.  Remove peppers from pot and place upright in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes and remaining sauce ingredients; stir well.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. While sauce is simmering, heat oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add ground beef, chopping into smaller pieces and cooking until beef is browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.  Add rice and sauce and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce temperature to low and simmer until mixture has thickened, about 6-7 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese. Fill each pepper with stuffing and top with additional mozzarella cheese.
  5. Add ½ c water to baking dish so peppers are sitting in ½ inch of water. Bake peppers until heated through, about 25 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 stuffed peppers.

Chicken Parmesan

This chicken parmesan recipe is one that you will think about all day long, both long before AND long after you make it!  I know I’ve been thinking about it for daysssss.  The breaded chicken is bursting with Parmesan flavor, and the sauce is absolute PERFECTION.  I actually think the sauce is my favorite part of this recipe!  So simple to make, but so flavorful.  I was eating it by the spoonful while it was simmering on the stove. 🙂  I ended up making a second batch of it because I poured so much of it on my chicken and pasta!  It is THAT GOOD.  I am making stuffed peppers later this week, and I think I might use this sauce in the recipe… we’ll see 🙂

Anyways… enough about the sauce.  The whole dish is fantastic.  I hope you get to try it.  The recipe is adapted from a recipe in my beloved America’s Test Kitchen cookbook.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Parmesan

Active Prep: 30 min
Cook time: ~10 min
TOTAL: ~ 40 min

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Chicken

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (~1 lb), cut in half then filleted and pounded ½ inch thick (4 pieces of chicken total)
  • salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • ¾ c grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ c Panko bread crumbs
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

 Sauce

  • Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients; stir well.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.

Chicken

  1. Preheat broiler.  Season chicken with salt.  Whisk egg and flour together and pour in a shallow dish.  Set aside.
  2. Whisk together Parmesan, Panko, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper and pour in another shallow dish. Dredge each chicken piece in egg mixture, then coat with Parmesan mixture.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place cutlets in pan and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, until breading is golden brown.  Flip cutlets and cook for another 2-3 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Place cooked cutlets on paper towel-lined plate to drain, then place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining chicken.
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken. Place in broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and begins to brown.
  5. Serve chicken immediately over pasta (if desired) and top with sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

I’ve been reminiscing about the summer, the beach, and tropical vacations.  What I wouldn’t give to be lying on a beach somewhere, roasting in the sun, and sipping on a fruity drink with one of those cute little umbrellas in it!!!  Since that’s not quite possible right now, I’ll bring the beach into the kitchen.  How does a Piña Colada cupcake sound?

Let’s do ourselves a favor and combine the sweet, summer flavors of pineapple and coconut into cake-form and top with a creamy coconut frosting.  Top it with some sweetened shredded coconut and one of those cute umbrellas, and it’s almost like we’re on the beach… right?!

I hope this Piña Colada cupcake brings you a little taste of paradise as we continue waiting for the summer sun to arrive!

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Piña Colada Cupcakes

Active Prep:  15 min for cupcakes, 10 min for frosting
Bake time: 20 min
TOTAL: 35 min, plus cooling and frosting

Ingredients:

 Cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 c pineapple juice
  • ¼ tsp coconut extract
  • 1 c pureed pineapple

Frosting

  • 1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 Tbsp canned coconut milk
  • ¾ tsp coconut extract
  • 3 ½ c confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ c sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, pineapple juice, and coconut extract. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture, alternating with pineapple juice mixture until just combined.  Fold in pureed pineapple.  Do not over-mix.
  5. Add batter to prepared cupcake pan (~1/4 c of batter per cupcake). Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Frost with coconut buttercream as desired.
  6. Coconut Frosting: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add coconut milk and coconut extract.  Slowly add powdered sugar until combined, then increase speed to medium-high to whip together.  Add additional powdered sugar or coconut milk until you reach desired consistency.  Frost cupcakes as desired, then garnish with shredded coconut. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake for Two

SNOW DAY!!!  John and I BOTH got the day off today – do you know how rare it is for either of our work places to cancel?!  We are expecting about a foot of snow do fall today, so now we are stuck in one of the coziest situations I could imagine.  Just the two of us (plus Riddle), in our pajamas, with no place to go.  Even though I really don’t like the snow or the cold, there’s something about a snow day that is just so comforting!

We slept in (til 6:15!!) and decided that we deserved more than just a quick bowl of cereal or oatmeal to start the day.  Coffee cake sounded great to both of us, but I didn’t want to make a huge coffee cake that would end up going to waste in a few days.  So I went to my trusty America’s Test Kitchen The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook and found a recipe for a cinnamon pecan coffee cake – the perfect size for two people (or even four!).  We ate half of it this morning and will be able to have leftovers tomorrow.

This coffee cake is SO GOOD.  Nice and moist, plus a delicious crumbly topping.  I always like to add more cinnamon than coffee cake recipes call for – I feel like a good coffee cake should be loaded with cinnamon flavor.  I will be making this again very soon!  Thank you, America’s Test Kitchen, for yet another perfect recipe!  I tweaked it just a bit, but the basis of the recipe is all ATK!

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Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake for Two

Active Prep: 15 min
Bake time: 30 min
TOTAL: 45 min

Ingredients:

 Topping

  • 1 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 c chopped pecans

Cake

  • ¾ c all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¼ c buttermilk
  • ¼ c granulated sugar
  • ¼ c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Grease a 6-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Using a pastry blender, combine all topping ingredients except pecans. Blend together until the mixture resembles sand.  Stir in pecans.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sugars, egg, and butter until combined.  Slowly fold in the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle topping evenly over the top.  Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and serve while still warm.

Turkey Chili

Chili is the perfect way to get “un-chilly.”  Okay, sorry, that was a little lame.  But it’s SO true.  A nice warm bowl of chili is the perfect way to warm up after a cold, blistery day.  I made a giant pot of this chili.  It freezes well, so I can freeze in individual portions and grab from the freezer when I need a quick meal.

This chili is loaded with ground turkey and lots of flavor.  It is a recipe based on one from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.  It takes about 2 hours to simmer the flavors together over the stove, and the flavor gets better over time (the full flavor comes out the next day!).  If you’re looking for a tasty way to warm up this winter, this is your recipe!

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Turkey Chili

 Active Prep: 15 min.
Cook time: 2 hr
TOTAL: 2 hr, 15 min

Ingredients:

  • ¼ c vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and stemmed, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ c chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb. ground turkey (I used 85% lean)
  • 2 (15-oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28-oz) can tomato puree
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add onions, pepper, and garlic cloves.  Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne pepper.  Mix well.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  2. Add ground turkey, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. Stir well and cook until turkey is fully cooked, about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato puree. Add salt to taste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, COVERED, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Uncover and continue to simmer for an additional hour, until chili has thickened slightly. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for 5-6 days in an air-tight container.  You may also store in freezer for 3-4 months in an airtight container or freezer bag.