Slowcooker Three Bean Turkey Chili with Grilled Cheese Strips

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Last week we had rain for the first time in a long time. It was one of those days where you wake up, and don’t want to get out of bed. While we really need rain here in the Bay Area, I found myself lingering under the covers, feeling like, well, this:

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I do love fall, and one of my favorite things about the colder weather is the heartier food. My wife had the genius idea to make some chili on this cold and blustery day. This recipe is a combination of several different recipes that I’ve seen on the internet, and it turned out perfectly. In the past, I have had trouble with making my chili spicy enough, but this recipe has a really nice bite. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s very simple: you prepare it in the morning, and set the slow cooker on “low” all day long. When you come home from work, just ladle out the chili. I like to pair chili with grilled cheese sandwich strips because they are the best thing ever. This recipe results in a very good/moderately healthy meal that is guaranteed to warm you and your loved ones up, even on the coldest nights.

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Ingredients:

Chili: 

  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 cup corn (I use flash frozen)
  • 1.25 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white beans
  • 2 small cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 very small can tomato sauce
  • kosher salt to taste (about 1 Tb.)
  • a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tb. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tb. ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tb. garlic power
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. red pepper (ground cayenne)

Grilled Cheese:

  • sourdough bread
  • sliced cheese. I prefer pepperjack.

Instructions:

First, dice your onion. Then, brown your turkey and onions on the stovetop or in the slowcooker.

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Using a spatula or wooden spoon, break up the ground turkey into small pieces, and stir for about two minutes until the turkey is cooked (i.e. no longer pink). My slowcooker has a “sauté” function, which allows you to brown your meat right in the crockpot. I love this feature. It also produces one less dish to wash, and makes this a truly “one pot meal”!

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Add all of the seasoning, and give it a good stir:

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Open up all of your cans, and add the contents to the slowcooker. I start with the beans. Make sure you drain out the liquid from the cans before tossing the beans into the pot:

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Add the tomatoes with the green chilies:

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Add the tomato sauce:

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Throw in the corn:

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Using your spatula or wooden spoon, swirl all the ingredients together:

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Put the top on your slowcooker, and make sure its plugged in, and set to “low.”

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Go to work, and let the chili cook for about 6-10 hours (depending on the length of your day).

Grilled Cheese:

When you get home, pull out four slices of sourdough bread, and make two cheese sandwiches.  The next step is to make the cheese sandwich toasty. I like to do this with a panini press.

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Our kitchen is teeming with culinary gadgets, and the panini press is something that we use fairly frequently (seriously).

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If you don’t have a panini press, don’t fret — you can make a grilled cheese sandwich about a thousand different ways. If you put a pan on the stovetop and set it to high, you can just place the sandwich in the pan, and the bread will toast up and the cheese will melt. As soon as the cheese starts to melt, flip the sandwich. It’s really good if you butter the pan and butter both sides of the bread. It’s also really good if you just put the bread right on the pan. Your choice.

After you’ve crafted your grilled cheese, cut it into thin strips:

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Taste your chili and make sure it’s salty and spicy enough. If it’s not, add more salt and/or spices. When it’s just right, spoon it into a bowl, and top with shredded cheese (optional) and your grilled cheese strips. Enjoy!

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