In addition to hosting a birthday brunch for the munchkin last weekend, my in-laws were staying with us for the weekend.  We got a babysitter and went out after the baby’s bedtime Friday night, but Saturday night we decided to stay in.  My goal was to find something that everyone liked but could be made ahead so that I didn’t have to first start cooking after my daughter’s birthday party.  The menu I came up with was chili with cornbread muffins and a tossed salad.

I have made turkey chili twice before, and the result was good, but tasted more like a meat sauce than chili.  So this time I made a few changes:  I doubled the chili powder, added cumin, and used beef instead of turkey because I had enough grass-fed ground beef in my freezer to double the recipe.  Increasing the spices definitely helped, but the recipe would still work just as well with turkey.

Cornbread is something I’ve never made before, but after looking at the ingredient lists of some premade ones I decided it was worth the effort!  I made cornbread muffins in a mini-muffin tin earlier in the week and froze them in a freezer bag.  Saturday night I just popped a bunch in the microwave on a plate and we had “fresh” cornbread!





adapted from Food Network

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onions (approx. 1 small onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (approx. 1 large clove)
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with juices
1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (this is half the original amount – I am very sensitive to heat, so I prefer to use less in the chili and then serve Tabasco on the side for those who prefer hotter food)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried basil (my crushed tomatoes had basil so I left this out)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or less, especially if you’re limited on cooking time)

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add ground meat and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until desired thickness, stirring occasionally.

This tastes better the next day, so it is a great choice to make ahead!  It also freezes perfectly, so feel free tomake a double batch and tuck half away for an easy meal another time.

Makes 4-5 bowls



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