One pot meals are some of my favorite dishes because it doesn’t require a lot of time especially when you don’t have a lot of time to begin with. And because it’s so simple, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the ease for all-around healthy food.
You can’t get any more well balanced in a meal than this turkey chili. Plenty of protein from the turkey and beans. Complex carbs from the beans with TONS of fiber from both the beans and veggies. And not to forget to mention, there is no flavor lacking in this chili. Don’t let the ground turkey concern you! Cumin is the secret to making ground turkey (or ground chicken) taste similar to beef. But if you must, you can simply use a lean ground beef instead.
I personally use half ground turkey and half ground turkey breast. The ground turkey breast is very lean with a little higher protein content, only about 1.5g of fat per 4oz and no saturated fat like regular ground turkey. It’s a fair compromise to really make it healthy. Actually, it’s just to make room for me to top it off with some of my Homemade Queso Fresco cheese, haha! For those who are diabetic, with 8 servings in this chili you’ll get about 16g net carbs which isn’t so bad for how filling it is. You can make your portion smaller and enjoy a side of veggies or a salad to keep the carbs down more.
TURKEY BEAN CHILI
In a large pot over medium-high heat cover the bottom of the pot with olive oil and sauté the bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, and garlic stirring until the onions are translucent.
Add the ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried bay leaf. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the ground turkey and mix everything together.
Once the ground turkey is nearly cooked after about several minutes, add the canned crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, and worchestershire sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce the temperature to a steady simmer for about 45 minutes uncovered. Stir once in a while.
Add the black beans and kidney beans the last 5 minutes.
Revised: September 7, 2017
Making this Sausage & Artichoke sauce is not only easy but tastes better the next day, and even a few days after. It’s the perfect make ahead meal for leftovers through the week. It can be mixed with any kind of pasta and any shape that you love most. Personally, I love bite sized pasta like rotini but lately I’ve been keeping an eye on my total daily carb intake and so to compromise by not completely missing out on pasta, I’ve discovered this incredible Organic Black Bean Pasta by Explore Cuisine that is shaped as spaghetti. It has a total of 25g of protein and 8g net carbs per serving with 4 servings in the package of pasta. You can find them at most grocery stores and also at better cost on Amazon if you purchase a small bulk.
It literally cooks just like pasta, with the same bite like pasta, and surprisingly enough a fairly neutral flavor as well. Its color is of black beans but doesn’t affect taste nor does it bleed color into your food. I seriously didn’t think anything would ever convert me but this really did. With that said, it’s all types of diabetic friendly and great for those who live a low carb lifestyle. Oh, one big plus about this pasta is that you actually feel full and satiated in comparison to regular pasta.
SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA
Fill a large pot with water, bring to boil, and follow instructions on the package to cook pasta.
In a large pan, saute the turkey Italian sausage, onions, pepper, and salt. Use a wood spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces.
When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the garlic powder, diced tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Stir frequent until the sausage is cooked through. About 5 minutes.
Add the goat cheese and spinach. Stir until the goat cheese melts and everything is mixed together well.
These hearty one pot meals especially during the Winter is LIFE! I think I get more use out of the slow cooker during the colder months than any other time of year, but with that comes big batch cooking for even tastier leftovers along with really easy prepping so that you can do whatever you need to do for the day while it slowly cooks.
This Beef Short Ribs Ragu recipe is among my favorite next to my Braciole & Italian Sausage recipe. It’s perfect for cold days and also for the holidays. But I’ll admit I’ve made this when it wasn’t cold because it’s that good. And often when I’m being good with my choice of eats, I won’t ignore the craving for this! Okay, believe it or not it doesn’t require anything fancy to make. Cooking it long and slow is the main ingredient to making this taste amazing. Normally I would use 1/2 cup of a dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon but there have been times I didn’t have any or forgot to get wine and it came out just as good.
There is one ingredient you don’t want to ditch when making this, and that’s the pecorino Romano cheese. Make sure you go to the cheese section and buy the block of pecorino. Not the grated. It is often compared to Parmesan cheese but the difference is that it’s made of sheep milk; giving that much stronger pungent taste. AND IT GOES SO PERFECT WITH THIS DISH! Trust me. You can use the leftover block of Romano in place of Parmesan cheese, over any pasta dish, or shaved over salads. It can also be stored tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for future uses if you don’t plan to use the rest of it so quickly before the expiration date.
One last thing! If you’re not feeling pasta, you can definitely serve this over a baked potato, polenta, Italian inspired quesadillas, and even top a homemade pizza with the shredded meat. Never feel you’re limited to only one dish when you make a big batch of food. Enjoy!
BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU
Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and bring to high heat. Brown all sides of the short ribs about a minute each side. Lay the short ribs into a slow cooker set for 8 hours on low.
Drain the excess oil from the pan, place the pan back on the stove on medium heat. Add the beef broth and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Then, add the onions, carrot, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Stir for about two minutes and transfer into the slow cooker.
Add the bay leaf, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, dry red wine (optional), and Romano cheese chunks. Stir gently and cover the slow cooker to cook.
Feel free to stir everything once half way through if you like. It should be ready in as little as 6 hours but 8 hours is perfect.
Remove each short rib onto a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker, add salt as needed, stir, and serve over pasta.
I recommend using a spoon to scoop the pools of fat at the top. You can also do so by scraping the solidified fat at the top after it’s been refrigerated.
It’s finally starting to cool down and stay cool. Now that Fall is here, I’m ready to plant my face in bowls of all sorts of soup. This Sausage & Cannellini Cioppino is one of my absolute favorites because it’s a fast, easy one pot meal with a whole lot of healthy going on that doesn’t taste necessarily “healthy.” It’s bold flavors are given credit to the Italian sausage of course. I used TURKEY Italian sausage rather than pork to keep the grease level down. You really can not taste a difference whatsoever. They make a chicken Italian sausage too, I’m not a huge fan of it as I believe I CAN taste the difference but by all means, if you want to use it, do so!
For those who aren’t a fan of kale or never tried it, this is one of the best ways to try kale. Baby steps! It literally doesn’t have much of a flavor as it absorbs everything else in the soup but the importance of getting greens is huge. There are different kinds of kale, feel free to use any of them. The curly kale is great and more hearty than lacinto or dino kale but they all taste fairly similar. Also, extremely important! When buying broth, read the ingredients label! You will discover that most broth is hardly much REAL broth and riddled with MSG. The best way to get quality broth is to look at the ones packaged in a box and low-sodium. Pacific is one of my favorite brands. Just make sure it doesn’t have MSG. You can control your salt intake yourself very easily by just adding sea salt if needed.
Sometimes I love throwing in 1/2 pound of shrimp instead of beans or in addition to. Of course you can do whatever you want and make it your own as I always love to encourage that. If you’re new to cooking, it may be easiest for you to follow the recipe to get a feel for it and then next time make it by adding your own flare to it. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy this cioppino as much as I do. It’s even better when you dunk homemade garlic bread into it!
SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI CIOPPINO
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onion, sea salt, and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened about 5 minutes.
Add the basil, thyme, sausage, and use a wood spoon to break the sausage up. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
Add the wine, stir by scrapping up the bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, stewed tomatoes, and bay leaf. Bring everything to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while.
Lastly, add the beans and kale. Stir and let cook for another five minutes. Remove the bay leaf, add more salt and pepper to taste.
What’s with all the exotic meats in my recipes lately? I know, I know. I’ve been feeling adventurous and curious about these healthier meat options. It’s been very fun so far and extremely successful. Just because it’s a meat most of us is unfamiliar with, doesn’t mean it has to be anymore complicated than working with something common like beef. It seems as though as long as you know the fat content, then you know when cooking it you may need more or less olive oil to prevent it from being dry. And of course, proper spices! If you’re all for trying new meats, you’ll likely love my Wild Boar Ragu which is to die for.
So with elk, I literally treated it like ground beef. And it was a huge success. It has a less greasy taste to it and more rich flavor. In a chili, it’s not so distinctive at all given all the spices involved. So, if you want to give elk a try this may be the best way to try it out! If you’re not about elk, feel free to use any kind of ground meat. There are no strict rules to this at all. Oh and last thing… you could throw all of this in a slow cooker on low for 8hrs if you’re strapped for time. Just leave the beans out of it until the last few minutes before serving and you’re good to go!
ELK BEAN CHILI
In a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes.
Add the green chilies and stewed tomatoes, stir for 2 minutes.
Then, add the ground elk, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper; breaking up the ground elk with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until the meat is mostly cooked through.
Lastly, add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, and let everything come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low so it can simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add the kidney beans the last 5 minutes.