No Frills Cooking: Chili signals the best of fall

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons. Fall means family, snuggling on the couch and reading, and closing your eyes breathing in crisp air rather than crying from the soul-crushing late summer heat. But best of all, fall means warm comfort foods. Other than stuffing your face with apple cider donuts, I’m not sure there’s a better way to kick off the season of pumpkins, change and football than with a big bowl of chili.

But before we dive in, I want to share a little bit about my cooking philosophy:

  1. A meal is only as good as its cleanup. This means no cooking recipes that require 50 pots and pans, 20 baking sheets and three runs of the dishwasher.

  2. A recipe is not a treasure hunt, nor is it exclusive. Most of the ingredients should be available at your grocery store, and they should be affordable.

  3. The recipe should work for you; you shouldn’t work for the recipe.

  4. Time, and counter space, are luxuries many of us don’t have, so I try to stick with recipes that take about 30 minutes or less and use minimal ingredients to save space, time and money.

  5. Fresh ingredients are best, but shortcuts are OK, too. Are homemade brownies good? Yes. But there’s also nothing wrong with using a mix.

Now back to the chili.

I started making chili when I was cold, tired and thinking of ways to cook a balanced meal with the least amount of effort. And boy did it pay off.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it literally takes zero brain power to make. Hard day at work? Dump everything in a pot and let it simmer. The commute got you down? You still get to dump everything in a pot and let it simmer. Are you hangry and can’t wait another moment to have a hearty and healthy meal? Have a snack, and then dump everything into a pot and let it simmer.

Alongside some spice staples, this chili has only five ingredients: ground turkey, garlic, onion, crushed tomatoes and kidney beans. Even better, you’ll be ready to eat in about half an hour from start to finish. We’re big on the meal prep express in my house, so I like to make a big batch and freeze.

I dare you to find an easier and more tasty meal that you and your family will love. Aside from apple cider donuts – those take the cake.

Let’s start cooking.

Turkey Chili

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 (28-ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes

  • 1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans - drained, rinsed, and mashed

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent. Mix in crushed tomatoes, kidney beans and garlic. Add your spices: chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.