Quick Mexican Turkey Chili

At the end of every single month (and he does a mid-way check, too), my husband goes through our finances. He opens up our online bank statement, goes through every purchase that was made with our debit card, and places it into pre-designated categories on a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet has what I call the dreaded budget. It drives me insane sometimes, but it really saves us. Each month we can spend a certain amount of money in each category, and then the rest goes directly into savings for building our new home, health savings account for the new baby, and then law school student loans, of course. 

I don’t have a lot of control over some of the heavier bills like our rent, loan payments, etc, but I do have a huge influence over the groceries category. It’s been a long process with that dreaded category. With a food blog, sometimes I feel like I want to try my recipes with the finest ingredients, instead of the generic brand version. Or maybe I’d like to buy much nicer cuts of meat for my recipes. Or better yet, I’d wish on my life to shop somewhere other than Walmart (and a once-a-month-trip to Costco). But alas, we are paying off loans and saving for a home, so making my grocery list for my own little family has to be completely strategic, low-maintenance, and save us as much money as possible at the check stand. 

Each week has a certain allotment of what I can spend at the grocery store. If I go over, I have to spend less the next week. Well, we have a birthday party for our son coming up this week, so I knew a couple weeks ago, I needed to keep things painfully simple in the grocery category of our budget. I decided I’d make 100% of our meals based on what we already had in the pantry. Three different boxes of pasta with only 1/4 noodles left, and a half a pound of ground beef in the freezer? Yup, tri-noodle spaghetti was headed our way. Tons of bread and eggs lying around? Throw in some dill, a little mayo, paprika, salt, and pepper, and we’ve got ourselves some simple egg-salad sandwiches for dinner with some veggies and fruit. Three cans of different kinds of beans, a package of taco seasoning, and a couple leftover cans of diced tomatoes? 

Oh baby, I new we had a chili comin’ on… 

Little did I know I would create an instant favorite with the “few” ingredients I thought I had lying around. 

Thanks for surviving my long financial monologue to get us to the chili point. 🙂 I like to share the story of how I get to having a certain recipe on my table, and sometimes the typical one-paragraph, or two-liner, just tunes me out completely. I love to tell stories with my food! That’s kind of the point of a food blog, vs. and online recipe book, to me. This chili forming out of a financial budget-conscious week is our story here. And MAN this chili made a good dinner for us! And the best news of all is that it was SUPER quick to make. I never add “quick” to the title of a recipe unless I mean it. This stuff came together in a blink of an eye, and still tasted like the flavors had enough time to form something extraordinary. 

The base of this chili starts with something a little less-hearty than your usual browned ground beef. I used chili to keep things light. The star of chili should be the beans, I think, so I didn’t want anything to take away from their shining hearty flavors. The turkey, however, played a huge supporting role. 

Next, the canned tomatoes. I knew right away from the package of taco seasoning (which you can totally make your own from scratch… I was just trying to use up what we already had) and canned tomatoes with chilies that we were going to go Mexican with this hearty dish. These two components alone gave such a huge pow of flavor to the chili! It was a match made in heaven! I was lucky I had that taco seasoning, though, because I didn’t realize I was out of chili powder. How the heck do you make traditional chili without chili powder? Taco seasoning, my friends. 

Lastly, were the beans. Three different kinds of beans. They looked so gorgeous together, and I loved how much color they brought to what could have been a one-dimensional brown-on-brown colored dish. The bowl of chili should sing to life with the colors and flavors it delivers, and these three different kinds of beans certainly sang their song. We loved this chili, and topped it off with some freshly grated sharp cheddar, and green onions. My husband, of course, dolloped his with sour cream to death. Whatever man, we all like our chili in different ways. This chili is a perfect base to however you’d like to dress it up with. Love you guys! Hope you had a fun weekend! xoxo

Quick Mexican Turkey Chili
makes 4 servings


1 lb ground turkey

1 small onion, diced

3 15oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 15oz can red kidney beans, drained

1 15oz can black beans, drained

1 15oz can white cannellini beans, drained

1 package of mild taco seasoning (or your own mix of cumin, black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, etc)

toppings: shredded sharp cheddar, chopped green onions, sour cream, cilantro, etc)

1. In a large soup pot over medium high heat, cook the turkey until browned, stirring often. Drain excess grease. Add onion and cook until translucent.
2. Toss in all the tomatoes, beans, and taco seasoning. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Serve with toppings and cornbread, if desired.

recipe source: Baking with Blondie

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