#10DaysofTailgate: Cincinnati Turkey Chili

This delicious, smoky chili is so easy and full of flavor! Serve it alone, or Cincinnati-style over spaghetti for a fun twist!

Cincinnati Turkey Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

This week I’m sharing tailgate-style recipes as part of #10DaysofTailgate, the special blogging event I am participating in through the rest of the month. This event has been graciously organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. While you’re thinking about it, be sure to pop over here to read all about the event and enter the giveaway. You won’t regret it! :)

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

I went to college in Ohio [yeahh Wittenberg!] and I remember the first time I was in the dining hall on chili night. Looking all around I saw people ladling chili on… what’s that… spaghetti! How bizarre, I thought, until I remembered that Cincinnatians [is that a thing? It is now!] eat their chili over spaghetti noodles. I thought it was really strange and didn’t try it for a few years until I was in a situation where it would have been super rude to not, plus I would have ended up starrrving. And we all know that’s not a good thing, righto? Truth be told, I before making this recipe I had only eaten Cincinnati chili a handful of times. But now that I have this easy recipe in my repertoire, I think it’ll end up on our dinner table more often in the future!

Cincinnati Turkey Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

This recipe is from an Ellie Krieger cookbook which means two things: 1) it’s healthy, and 2) it’s super flavorful. The seasonings in this recipe are SPOT ON, folks. I didn’t change a thing! Just the right amount of heat and warm spices to make a smoky, alluring chili. Yup, I just called chili alluring. You gotta make it now! Be sure to top it with whatever you please… cheese, onion, sour cream/greek yogurt… the more the merrier! That’s part of the fun of Cincinnati chili! :)

three years ago: Honey Fig Scones
four years ago: Radiatore Lasagna

Cincinnati Turkey Chili

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

from Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce – look for salt-free
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes in tomato juice – look for salt-free
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces spaghetti, cooked
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 teaspoons minced red onion

Directions:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until soft–about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook through. Add peppers and cook for a couple minutes until they are just beginning to soften. Add spices–chili powder, cocoa powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, pepper, and cloves. Stir in and cook for about a minute until they start to smell delicious. Finally, add in tomato sauce and tomatoes, water, molasses, and the bay leaf.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook down for about 2 hours. Chili should still be soupy.

Remove the bay leaf, then stir in the kidney beans. Serve over spaghetti and top with cheese and onion.

Here’s what the rest of the team brought to the table…

Starters
Sticky Mango Mustard Glazed Duck Meatballs
 by girlichef
Pretzel Sticks with Two Sauces by Eliot’s Eats
Cherry Chipotle BBQ Pork Nachos by The Spiffy Cookie
Duck Poppers by CafeTerra
Duck Bacon Pumpkin Soup by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Dips
Corn and Cheddar Dip
 by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Steakhouse Deviled Egg Dip by From Gate to Plate

Mains
Ultimate Bacon Burger
 by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Cincinnati Turkey Chili by The Pajama Chef
Smoky Date Pulled Pork by Curious Cuisiniere
Grilled Avocado with Melted Cheese & Karma Hot Sauce by Making Miracles

Sides
Just Ducky Baked Beans
 by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Sweets
Linebacker-Sized Chocolate Chip Cookies
 by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Rocky Ledge Bars by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Pear Poppy Snails {Birnen Mohn Schnecken} by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

 

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Crockpot Asian Pulled Chicken

Dust off your crockpot–this Asian Pulled Chicken is perfect for a chilly night and is a snap to put together!

Crockpot Asian Pulled Chicken | thepajamachef.com

I don’t do crockpot recipes that involve multiple steps. Isn’t the point of the crockpot to set it and forget it? So this recipe is super simple: place chicken in crockpot, top with a bunch of seasonings/sauces–without even mixing it!, cover, cook, enjoy. Perfect, huh?! Since I prefer to not even have to CHECK on crockpot meals while they’re cooking, I always like to use a bunch of sauce so the meat doesn’t dry out. For this recipe, I combined orange juice, rice vinegar, honey, and some spices with a myriad of Asian sauces I had hanging about in my pantry: soy sauce, hoisin, and oyster sauce…and some of Star Fine Foods’ Asian Cuisine Cooking Oil to give everything a little extra soy/ginger ooomph. If you don’t have all those sauces, don’t worry. One would be more than enough to make this almost barbecue-like sauce shine.

Crockpot Asian Pulled Chicken | thepajamachef.com

Once you open the lid, you’ll be greeted with the awesome aroma of chicken bathing in a sweet and tangy sauce. There’s citrus and a little heat and ginger and all sorts of good things in there, making that tender, melt-in-your-mouth chicken tastes even better than it smells. Since it was so effortless, I bet you’ll make this recipe again and again and again! Enjoy!

three years ago: Corn Cake Salad
four years ago: Sausage Pepper Penne

Crockpot Asian Pulled Chicken

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken – a combination of chicken breast and thighs is good, or just one works too
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Asian Cuisine Cooking Oil by Star Fine Foods [or 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + 1 teaspoon soy sauce]
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • rice, for serving
  • cilantro, for serving

Directions:

Place chicken in crockpot. Add all ingredients to crockpot [except rice and cilantro], then cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Gently shred chicken with a fork. Serve with rice and cilantro.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

These Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs are a fun topping to a garlicky, buttery base of spaghetti squash. Though this dish takes awhile to prepare, it’s totally worth it!

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a quest to eat as much pumpkin in the next three months as possible. It’s my goal to make/blog about at least one pumpkin dish per week! We’ll see how I do. :) So first…I have a confession to make. I made this dish last year. In fact, it was one of the first new recipes I made in our new Nashville kitchen after we moved here last year. And it just didn’t make it on the blog. Oooops! Moving to a new state and starting a new job kinda takes a lot of time. :) But despite the length of time between eating this dish and sharing it here, I think it’s utterly fabulous! Most people think of pumpkin as a sweet ingredient [helllooo pumpkin pie, cookies, bread, muffins, yada yada yada] but I love it when used at dinnertime. Though pumpkin by itself is actually a little bland, it can add some color, moisture, and substance to sauces, meatballs, or soups when used in a savory sense.  This was my first time using pumpkin in meatballs and I must say I’m super impressed! These meatballs were sooo flavorful and indulgent… if meatballs can be indulgent, haha.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

And don’t forget about the spaghetti squash! It’s garlicky and buttery and just plain perfect. It was Ben’s first taste of spaghetti squash and he loved it… especially because of the bacon. Everything’s better with bacon, right? Even pumpkin! With this dish you’ll certainly have one of the more unique ways to enjoy pumpkin. And it’s awesome! Hope you enjoyyy!

one year ago: Autumnal Muffins
two years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
three years ago: Peach Shortbread
four years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hours, most of that not active so don't freak out
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from We are not Martha

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground chicken [ground turkey would also work too]
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Butter Olive Oil – or regular butter or olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully poke holes all over the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Place in a baking dish and bake for 80 minutes, rotating halfway through.

While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, pumpkin, ginger, thyme, panko, parmesan, and egg. Scoop mixture into golfball-sized balls and place in a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and crisp on the outside. [Hint: put the meatballs in the oven after the squash has cooked for about 65 or 70 minutes--that'll be good timing so everything is finished about the same time.]

After 80 minutes, remove squash from oven and let cool.

When cool enough to touch, carefully cut in half. Scoop seeds out, then use a fork to remove the “spaghetti” and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil and cook garlic for one minute. Add squash, sage, and crumbled bacon, then cook for about 3 minutes until tender.

Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash with parmesan on top.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friends Friday.

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs

This easy sausage and potato skillet is seasoned with a healthy herb ranch blend and topped with a fried egg, making it a perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Delicious!

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

I love skillet meals! One dish meals are seriously my go-to for weeknights. Less courses=less dishes=less clean up=more time to read on the couch/bake pumpkin treats/watch tv/brush our little spoiled cats or anything else my little heart desires. Usually my skillet meals include rice, pasta, or quinoa, and cheese. Always cheese! But sometimes you want something a little lighter and fresher. Not that rice or pasta dishes can’t be light, but you know what I mean, right? For me, the key to delicious light meals is lots of flavor. Like ranch! Mmm, ranch dressing. Whoever invented that stuff was a genius!

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning | thepajamachef.com

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I made a batch of healthy herb ranch seasoning and used it for some roasted potatoes alongside a little breakfast-for-dinner meal with cheesy scrambled eggs, oatmeal scones, and berries. Not that you’ll NEED extra ideas for using this ranch seasoning [I think it's going to become a standard addition to my pantry] but let me just say that ranch seasoning on popcorn is amazingggg! Mmm, it’s 8 am and I want some ranch popcorn. Haha.

Ranch Potatoes | thepajamachef.com

Now, that meal was good…but I had visions! Visions of a ranch-seasoned skillet meal with crispy roasted potatoes, crumbled breakfast sausage, bell peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeno and a fried egg on top! Well, my fried eggs are actually over-easy eggs but same diff. :) I am happy to report that this skillet was everything I dreamed it would be… a fresh, filling meal full of ranch flavor AND the best part was that it’s healthy! That’s why I used that ranch seasoning blend… all the flavors of a hearty, creamy ranch without tons of salt, sour cream, or mayo. To make the potatoes super crispy I roasted them in the oven with some of the ranch seasoning, then tossed them with the sausage and bell pepper mixture after everything was cooked. Don’t forget the avocado on the side… a bite of creamy, cool avocado alongside this spicy ranch-y skillet is just divine! Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget about my giveaway for Healthy Solutions Spice Blends! Ends Saturday! :)

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

two years ago: Peach Ginger Pie
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
four years ago: Chili Burgers

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound red potatoes, cut into eighths [quarter, then half each quarter]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning, divided [see below, or use your favorite]
  • cayenne pepper – optional
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced – optional
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • diced avocado, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss red potatoes in 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning, a sprinkling of cayenne, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender. I like to bump the heat up to 475 for the last 5 minutes or so of baking to get a nice crispy crust.

While potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Drain grease and return sausage to pan. Add onion, green pepper, red pepper, and jalapeno, if using. Saute for 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Cover and remove from heat. When potatoes are done, add to skillet with sausage and vegetables and stir in remaining 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning.

Cook fried eggs to desired doneness, then serve a fried egg on top of each serving with diced avocado.

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning | thepajamachef.com

from Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar and shake to combine. Store covered until ready to use.

Can combine with 1 3/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt for a ranch dressing/dip; just mix well and thin with milk or buttermilk to reach desired consistency.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.

Mystery Dish: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa + Cookbook Giveaway

These Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa are tied together with a creamy mint-almond pesto. An easy, healthy dinner that comes together quickly!

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

I had a really tough time with this month’s Mystery Dish. I’m not sure why–pretty much ALL the ingredients on the list are things I love. I was just uninspired I guess. But I don’t think my recipe reflects that… this meal was pretty darn delicious. Andi from Weary Chef was our host and she asked us to use three ingredients from this list: pistachios, wine, mint, gluten-free flour, red pepper flakes, fish, agave nectar, applesauce, blueberries, parmesan cheese, milk, and corn.

A couple weekends ago, we were going to grill turkey burgers [Ben makes a to die for turkey burger with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper] but we were rained out and I had some ground turkey thawed in the fridge. We could have grilled indoors, but instead I decided to make some Mystery Dish magic with these Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa. And you guys… they are so good! I love a good turkey meatball anyway, but add some fresh mint to your typical garlic and onion mixture and they’re definitely amped up a notch. To fulfill the ingredient requirement, I used gluten free flour to help hold the meatballs together and red pepper flakes instead of normal black pepper. In hindsight, I wish I would have used more flour because the meatballs didn’t hold together super well. Though that was three ingredients, I decided to make the flavors even more apparent by making a mint pesto to serve over the meatballs and to toss with the quinoa I decided to serve on the side. If quinoa isn’t your thing, try rice, pasta, or some other grain/starch. Though my pesto wasn’t a true pesto it was still pretty addictive and a great sauce that was nutty, minty, and creamy all at once.

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

The mint in this dish balances perfectly with the crushed red pepper. I was somewhat generous with the red pepper flakes, but it was definitely an approachable level of spiciness so if you aren’t a spicy person you’ll be okay here. I was supposed to tell you that that description was Ben’s idea, and I was threatened with a lawsuit if I didn’t. :) Ha ha, a lawsuit from my husband. Moving on… I loved how minty this dish is… enough flavor to make things interesting but not so much you think you’re eating toothpaste. I love having a great repertoire of healthy, easy dinners and I know this dish will go into my usual rotation. Hope you give it a try!

And, as a special treat since we’ve been Mystery Dishin’ it up for a YEAR now [whoa], we have a special giveaway for our lovely readers… copies of cookbooks from MasterChef Season 3 Winner Christine Ha and Season 4 Winner Luca Manfe! I wish I could win! Go HERE to enter.

Enjoy!

one year ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel 
two years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
three years ago: Healthy “Fried” Rice –> I make this ALL the time with different veggies, meat, and/or tofu. A must try!
four years ago: Cornmeal Pizza Dough in the Breadmaker

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour [or other flour, gluten free or otherwise + more if you need it]
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

for quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water [or stock if preferred]
  • 1 cup prepared pesto [above]

for pesto

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons half and half
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs–garlic, green onion, mint, flour, egg, turkey, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 16 meatballs. Place half the meatballs in the preheated skillet and cook on each side for about 2 minutes per side until browned all over. Remove meatballs from skillet and place in a large oven safe dish, misted with cooking spray if not nonstick. Repeat with remaining meatballs then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

Prepare pesto by combining mint, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons half and half, and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until combined, adding more oil and/or half and half if desired. Stir in parmesan and red pepper flakes to taste. Pesto yields about 1 cup.

When quinoa is ready, pour about 3/4 cup pesto in the quinoa and stir to combine. Serve meatballs with quinoa and reserved mint pesto, along with sides like green beans or crusty bread.

Be sure to check out what my Mystery Dish pals whipped up this month:

Mystery Dish | thepajamachef.com

  1. Tuna Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa by The Weary Chef
  2. Blueberry Scones by Yummy Healthy Easy
  3. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia by Culinary Couture
  4. Minty Berry Fruit Roll Ups by I Want Crazy
  5. Baked Blueberry Donuts by Chez CateyLou
  6. Hearty Minestrone Soup by Joyful Healthy Eats
  7. Blueberry Lemon Pannacotta with Pistachio Tuilles by Flavor the Moments
  8. Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa by The Pajama Chef
  9. Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake by I Dig Pinterest
  10. Pistachio Drop Scones with Blueberry Compote by The Well Floured Kitchen
  11. Grilled Corn & Blueberry Flatbread with Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Basil Vinaigrette by Baking a Moment
  12. Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and Peach Salad by Blahnik Baker

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.