Turkey Chili | foodsciencenerd.com

Turkey Chili and Easy Fried Rice (Two dinners for the prep of one!)

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Nutrition Information, Recipes

This is an oldie-but-goodie post that I revamped with new pictures and slight recipe updates.  The turkey chili in particular is perfect for cold winter weeknights!

Today marks the start of National Nutrition Month and the theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”, so I’m breaking from my usual homework-gym-lab-class-lab-homework-dinner-homework routine to write a post containing not one, but two, nutritious and satisfying dinners that can be prepped simultaneously and saved for leftovers.

It’s a really blah winter here in New Jersey… not exactly the tunnels-in-the-snow extravaganza that New England is getting, but just an icy, dreary winter.  That makes me thing of making soups and such to stay warm, particularly with my snazzy new Le Creuset Dutch Oven adding an air of sophistication to even the humblest tomato sauce.  I was really feeling like giving turkey white chili a second shot.  I’d made it before after having it at the Sisters of Life retreat center and falling in love (normally I wouldn’t go for chili, but when a nun hands you a homemade bowl of chili, you eat the chili), but it wasn’t quite right.  I made quite a few changes, mostly based off of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, and this one turned out beautifully.

Turkey Chili | foodsciencenerd.com

But there’s something funny about tonight.  I made the chili at 6 PM, but it’s not for tonight’s dinner.  Instead, we’re having chicken stir fry, which is even easier to make than it seems.  My roommates in Boston and I created this recipe together and it’s stupidly fast and easy- and very healthy.  Why am I making two dishes?  Well, these two recipes have a surprising overlap of ingredients… many of which were just about to go bad in my fridge.  Here’s the run-down:

For the chili:

  • Ground turkey
  • Bacon (optional)
  • Cannellini beans (2 small cans)
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • Splash of dark beer (optional)
  • Milk (I accidentally bought 1% instead of skim last week, so I’m trying to hide the 1% in anything I possibly can to prevent it from going to waste.)
  • Corn Starch
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Herbs: Basil, oregano, sage, tarragon, and whatever you feel like

For the stir fry:

  • Chicken (I like the tenders as long as the price isn’t insanely different)
  • Frozen pre-cooked brown rice (or you could prep your own)
  • Broccoli
  • Frozen sugar snap peas or shelled edamame
  • Egg, beaten (optional)

For both:

  • Bell peppers- anything goes for the stir fry, but I like orange or yellow in the chili
  • Carrots (optional)
  • Medium yellow or white onion (1 each recipe)
  • Seasonings: soy sauce (yes, even in the chili), red pepper flakes, onion salt, garlic powder, salt, pepper

Some nice stuff about these recipes:

  1. They are inexpensive, especially if you buy in bulk amounts
  2. You can make tons of each, because they both keep well as leftovers
  3. They are well-balanced and high in protein, fiber, and micronutrients.  If you are concerned about salt content, use low-sodium canned beans, chicken stock, and soy sauce.
  4. Neither is very labor-intensive, particularly if you prep the ingredients for both at the same time
  5. They are forgiving- if you are missing a spice, or would prefer a different vegetable, or are missing a particular kind of bean, the recipe will still turn out just fine.  For example, I forgot the egg in the rice today, but we all survived.  This allows a lot of flexibility for different diet needs, budgets, tastes, etc.
  6. No measuring!  Just eyeball everything and it’ll be fine!

So, here we go:

  1. First, pull up a hockey game to keep you company while you cook:IMG_2614
  2. Then, throw 4 pieces of bacon in a cast-iron/saute pan and cook until crispy.  I learned the hard way not to do this in the dutch oven.  If you don’t have a splatter guard, go buy one- even if you never use it again, it’s worth it for this moment.  Set it aside on paper towels and add some of the fat to the Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium.
  3. Next, prep the veggies (Stir-fry in italics):
    1. Chop one onion into half-crescents for the stir-fry (so the onion still has texture) and set aside.  Dice the other onion and add it to the Dutch oven.
    2. Slice the carrots (I used baby carrots) and add to the Dutch oven.  Save some for the stir fry if you’d like.
    3. Slice one bell pepper into strips and set aside.  Dice the yellow/orange pepper and add to the Dutch oven.
  4. Stir the veggies occasionally while they brown and soften.  Meanwhile, for the stir fry, chop broccoli into florets and, if using snap peas, chop into thirds. Take the rice out of the freezer to let defrost a bit. Fried Rice | foodsciencenerd.com
  5. When the veggies have softened, add the ground turkey and divide with a spatula.  Add seasonings as desired.  I like a little splash of soy sauce, salt, and red pepper.  Stir the turkey occasionally until it is broken into bits and browned.
  6. IMG_2615Meanwhile, cut the chicken tenders into small pieces and put in the cast-iron (wiped clean of bacon bits).  Season with salt, pepper, soy sauce, onion salt, and garlic powder.  Don’t cook yet or it’ll be done too early!IMG_2628
  7. When the turkey is browned,IMG_2622  add the following ingredients: IMG_2621 beans (with their starchy liquid), chicken stock, and bacon (crumbled).  Bring to a boil… it will look a bit thin and clear, but we’ll fix that! Turkey Chili | foodsciencenerd.com
  8. When the stock is coming to a boil, add whatever spices you deem appropriate.

IMG_2619

  1.  Also, combine 1 cup milk with about 4 T cornstarch. You can use a fork, but I liked using my itty bitty whisk to make sure all the lumps were gone.  I also tossed in some cheddar that was about to expire, but that’s totally optional.IMG_2624

  2.  When the chili has been boiling enough for about 1 inch of liquid to have evaporated, add the milk mixture, stir, and bring back to a boil.  When the viscosity and seasoning are to your liking, the chili is done!  Serve with cheddar cheese and allow to cool a bit before putting in the fridge for leftovers.  It also goes very well as a topper for baked potatoes at lunch!

Turkey Chili | foodsciencenerd.com

11. To finish off the stir fry, turn the cast iron with the chicken to medium-high.  Turn the chicken with a spatula/tongs every so often to allow all sides to brown and the chicken to barely cook through.  Add more seasoning, especially soy sauce, as needed.IMG_2629

12. Meanwhile, heat a large pan to high heat with some olive oil.  Add about half the veggies (especially the onion) and cook until browned and softened.  Add the rest of the veggies to allow all to cook through.  Sprinkle in soy sauce, salt, and pepper as needed.IMG_2630

13.  When the veggies are almost cooked through, clear a small space of the pan and add the egg.  Agitate the egg until scrambled, then stir into the veggies.  Dump in the rice and some soy sauce and stir until the rice is heated through.

I accidentally left the heat on high after adding the rice, which burnt some of the bottom layer of rice.  Normally, I’d regret this, but the resulting texture was like the crunchy, salty bits of rice you get at a Japanese steakhouse.  Definitely making that mistake again!

The veggies without egg, since I forgot it.

14. Transfer the chicken to the rice and veggies and stir to combine.  Add more seasonings as necessary, and serve!

Eating Nutritiously at Work All Week | foodsciencenerd.com

Even after two servings per person of the rice were dolled out, there were still two servings left for lunches the next few days.  And don’t forget about that whole pot of chili waiting in the fridge (take note- there are no dishes left to clean)!  This week will be stress-free and guilt-free when it comes to dinner, and it all only took an hour of prep!

dsc_0991

Two-for-One Dinner Prep: White turkey chili and quick stir fry

Two-for-One Dinner Prep: White turkey chili and quick stir fry

Ingredients

    For the chili:
  • 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked (optional)
  • 2 15 oz cans cannellini beans
  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • Splash of dark beer, optional
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded for serving
  • Dashes of basil, oregano, sage, tarragon, to taste
  • For the stir fry:
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 bag frozen pre-cooked brown rice
  • 1 large head broccoli
  • 1 bag frozen sugar snap peas or shelled edamame
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • For both:
  • 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 2-3 bell peppers, any color
  • 2 carrots (optional)
  • 2 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • Seasonings, to taste: soy sauce, red pepper flakes, onion salt, garlic powder, salt, pepper

Directions

  1. Throw the bacon in a cast-iron/saute pan and cook until crispy. Set it aside on paper towels and add some of the fat to the Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium.
  2. Next, prep the veggies. Chop one onion into half-crescents for the stir-fry and set aside. Dice the other onion and add it to the Dutch oven.
  3. Slice the carrots and add to the Dutch oven. Save some for the stir fry if you'd like.
  4. Slice one bell pepper into strips and set aside. Dice the yellow/orange pepper and add to the Dutch oven.
  5. Stir the veggies occasionally while they brown and soften. Meanwhile, for the stir fry, chop broccoli into florets and, if using snap peas, chop into thirds. Take the rice out of the freezer to let defrost a bit.
  6. When the veggies have softened, add the ground turkey and divide with a spatula. Add seasonings as desired. I like a little splash of soy sauce, salt, and red pepper. Stir the turkey occasionally until it is broken into bits and browned.
  7. Meanwhile, cut the chicken tenders into small pieces and put in the cast-iron, wiped clean of bacon bits. Season with salt, pepper, soy sauce, onion salt, and garlic powder.
  8. When the turkey is browned, add the following ingredients: beans (with their starchy liquid), chicken stock, and bacon (crumbled). Bring to a boil.
  9. When the stock is coming to a boil, add whatever spices you deem appropriate.
  10. Also, combine milk with about cornstarch. Whisk to make sure all the lumps are gone.
  11. When the chili has been boiling enough for about 1 inch of liquid to have evaporated, add the milk mixture, stir, and bring back to a boil. When the viscosity and seasoning are to your liking, the chili is done! Serve with cheddar cheese and allow to cool a bit before putting in the fridge for leftovers.
  12. To finish off the stir fry, turn the cast iron with the chicken to medium-high. Turn the chicken with a spatula/tongs every so often to allow all sides to brown and the chicken to barely cook through. Add more seasoning, especially soy sauce, as needed.
  13. Meanwhile, heat a large pan to high heat with some olive oil. Add about half the veggies and cook until browned and softened. Add the rest of the veggies to allow all to cook through. Sprinkle in soy sauce, salt, and pepper as needed.
  14. When the veggies are almost cooked through, clear a small space of the pan and add the egg. Agitate the egg until scrambled, then stir into the veggies. Dump in the rice and some soy sauce and stir until the rice is heated through.
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