Last weekend I logged onto my school account with the intention of tackling my Intro to Philosophy homework. It was a Saturday afternoon, and doing homework sounded about as appealing as ripping off my fingernails one by one. Sorry for that not-so lovely image. Anyhow, I scrolled down to the assignment feeling oh-so-motivated, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but….the totally completed, already submitted assignment! I suddenly recalled that I had done the assignment right after class a few days prior to avoid the torture of doing homework on a Saturday. Way to think ahead, Wednesday-version-of-me! I felt like giving myself a hug right then and there. Best. Feeling. Ever.
Who doesn’t love that spectacular feeling of setting out to complete some dreaded task and then realizing that you already did it? It’s like a gigantic birthday and Christmas present all rolled into one. The only problem is that you have to forget the original event in order to be happily surprised later on, which is something that doesn’t happen to me all that often. Sucks to have a good memory, right?! Hah.
The great thing about slow cookers is that you can prepare dinner at an earlier point in the day (with a broad time span, since you can choose whether to cook on high or low) and then walk in the door at dinner time to a hot, homemade meal. When I’m hungry, I’m hungry, and it’s so nice to have food waiting for me when I can’t make it home until later in the evening.
This Turkey Pumpkin Chili is wonderful for so many reasons: not only is it a fantastic, flavorful chili (one of my favorite foods in the world), but it’s also quite healthy and requires very minimal prep work. You just have to brown a pound of turkey and then throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker. I suppose there’s also a slight bit of chopping involved, but for all intents and purposes this is a highly-doable meal for any busy weekday! Since I cook for one and the recipe makes a fairly large batch, I had leftovers for dayssss, and the chili also freezes really well. You can go the more traditional route and serve it with cornbread, or you can do what I did and spoon it over half of a roasted sweet potato. That combo=heaven in a bowl!
Maybe you’ll even get lucky and forget that you have a Crock Pot full of chili waiting for you, and you can experience that awesome feeling of having one fewer thing on your to-do list! Just don’t forget about the chili completely, because then bad things could happen….I feel I should include that as a disclaimer so you don’t go blaming me for your melted Crock Pot or something of similar nature.
I highly recommend adding this Turkey Pumpkin Chili to your dinner rotation! Its warm spices and plethora of hearty beans/turkey/veggies make it the perfect meal for chilly fall evenings, and it practically makes itself. Enjoy!
Slow-Cooker Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Makes about 6 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 15-oz can pure pumpkin
1 & 1/2 cups water or broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, garlic, and jalapeño, and cook until the turkey is browned on the outside (it’s fine if the inside is still pink). Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Give it a few stirs to break up the pumpkin, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Top with shredded cheese, avocado, and/or sour cream if desired.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The chili also freezes beautifully.
(Recipe adapted from Table for Two)