Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Easy Turkey Chili Mac

A lightened up version of your favorite Chili Mac use ground turkey as the base and is loaded with everyday spices, beans, pasta, and ooey gooey cheese!  A one pot meal that's easy enough to make on a weeknight.

Easy Turkey Chili Mac

Everyone is talking about Spring but we are still in winter mode here in Southern California.  So more comfort food is on the menu.  Last night I decided to make some Chili Mac because it is stick to your ribs good.  What is Chili Mac?  It's a combination of a good chili and macaroni and cheese.  Yum! 

Typically Chili Mac is made with ground beef but since we are always on the road to healthier eating I decided to make it with ground turkey and it came out extremely tasty.  My Easy Turkey Chili Mac is a one pot meal and a weeknight warrior.  It can be made in 45 minutes including all the prep work.  I like a dish like that!

Imagine a dish filled with a hearty chili made with ground turkey, shallots, garlic, kidney beans, tomatoes, and spices.  Then you add in some beef broth for body, macaroni, and stir in some gooey cheese.  This dish is what makes eating fun!  Everyone including the kids love this dish.  Serve it with some crusty bread and a garden salad and you'll have a hearty meal that will be on repeat.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • ground turkey - I buy the 93/7% ratio to ensure the turkey has a little fat, flavor, and doesn't become dry and rubbery.
  • olive oil
  • shallot
  • garlic cloves
  • diced tomatoes and tomato paste
  • kidney beans
  • beef broth - low sodium
  • spices - chili powder, cumin, paprika, ground coriander, dried oregano 
  • pasta - macaroni, or other short pasta.  I used mini shells.
  • cheddar cheese

Substitutions and Variations

  • Ground meat - use your favorite, chicken, turkey, beef or even lamb
  • Cheese - for a little heat substitute the cheddar with pepper jack cheese
  • Add some heat - add a little cayenne pepper (start with a pinch).  Taste and add more to your desired heat level. 
  • Bean - switch it up with Black, pinto, or cranberry beans

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Toppings are always fun - avocado slices, shredded cheese, or a dollop of sour cream
  • Cooking vessels:  I used a 12 inch skillet for this meal and it was full.  You could also use a Dutch oven like my Lodge one.  It's very sturdy and comes in a dozen colors.  Another alternative is a Braising pan.  It's shorter in height than the Dutch oven but is a great pan to have for food that is stewed, fried, baked, and braised.

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Easy Turkey Chili Mac

Serves 4-6

1 lb ground turkey
1 shallot, small diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz  petite diced tomatoes
6 T tomato paste
14 oz kidney beans, drained & rinsed
3 - 3 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 t
easpoon  cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon  coriander
1/2 - 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1  teaspoon  dried oregano
2 cups mini shell pasta - or macaroni
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Add ground turkey, shallot, and garlic to a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt & pepper then cook, chopping the meat, until no longer pink. 

Add petite diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, beef broth, and spices to the skillet. Bring to a boil then add pasta and place a lid on top. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente (do not overcook,) stirring once. Add cheese then stir until smooth. Let dish sit off the heat and thicken for 10 minutes before serving.

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