Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili, loaded with vegetables is easy and nutritious main course, perfect for a crowd on Super Bowl Sunday or for the family, as a weeknight dinner. Serve it with tortilla chips, over a baked potato or with corn bread.

This recipe can be made in a large, heavy duty pot but I prefer using a slow cooker. Preparing the chili the night before, then letting it slow cook all day for 4-8 hours, allows all the flavors to develop. Who wouldn’t enjoy coming home to a steamy pot, all ready to be consumed? In the words of Marie Kondo, this sparks joy in my world. I mean, I’ve “kon-mari’d” dinner into one pot, right?

This recipe uses lean ground turkey and loads up on vegetables. Unsweetened cocoa is the secret ingredient that adds depth and a “meaty” flavor, mimicking a traditional beef chili. As you may know, cocoa marries well with spices. I use four different chili spices: green chilis, Ancho chili, chili powder and a fresh Thai bird chili. Each contributes their own flavor and heat. The Ancho chili adds a little smokiness while the Thai bird chili adds a lot of heat. Since you may not have the option to pluck only one or two Thai bird chili peppers off of a plant like I did, you can simply increase the amount of chili powder. Be aware though, that most chili powder sold in the spice aisle, also contain garlic, salt and other ingredients. That might change the flavor of your chili. I also find that the amount of heat can vary from plant to plant, and from spice jar to spice jar.

The beans can be substituted for another variety or you may opt to use more of the same type of bean. You could even replace the roasted corn with chopped celery. Is there a wrong way to make chili? I casually asked friends what their secret ingredients in chili were. Their answers included riced cauliflower, peas, roasted tomatoes, roasted Poblano peppers, chocolate, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. I like to play with adding Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce too. Some people prefer beer over chicken or beef stock. Basically sky’s the limit.

* Note: You can always add more heat so start with 1 Thai bird chili pepper and 1 tablespoon chili powder. I prefer 2 Thai bird chili peppers and 1 ½ tablespoons of chili powder. As mentioned, most chili powder sold in the spice aisle, also contain garlic, salt and other ingredients so I prefer increasing the amount of heat with a fresh Thai bird chili pepper. Take care to wash your hands when handling and you might want to remove the seeds. It can be very spicy.

Serving size: 12


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 pounds of lean light meat ground turkey
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, preferably from a tube which has a more intense flavors
  • 1 – 2 fresh Thai bird chili pepper*
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 – 28 ounce good quality diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 – 4 ounce can of fired roasted green chiles
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (red, yellow, orange or green)
  • 2 cups roasted frozen corn (can substitute with fresh roasted corn and plain frozen corn)
  • 1 – 12 ounce can of kidney beans, with liquid
  • 1 – 12 ounce can of black beans, with liquid
  • 1 – 12 ounce can of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 – 2 ½ cups of chicken stock (stock is richer than broth)
  • Optional ingredients: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onion, diced onion, chopped cilantro, sliced Jalapeno peppers, tortilla chips, corn bread or baked potato


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and sauté diced onion, until translucent.
  2. Add ground turkey and sauté, breaking up the meat until just cooked through.
  3. Add the garlic, tomato paste and all the spices and sauté for a couple minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. In a nonstick pot of a slow cooker, add diced tomatoes, green chiles, bell peppers, frozen corn, beans and cocoa powder. Add the cooled and cooked turkey mixture. Then add the chicken stock and combine.
  6. Cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight, if preparing this the night before.
  7. Set slow cooker on low for 4 – 8 hours.
  8. Serve over baked potatoes, with a side of corn bread or topped with tortilla chips. Add shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onion, freshly diced onion, chopped cilantro or sliced Jalapeno pepper.
  9. To freeze, allow to cool to room temperature and freeze for up to 3 months.

Asian Pasta Salad

My Asian Pasta Salad is one of my go-to recipes when I need a dish that can be prepared in advance and left sitting at room temperature for a few hours without refrigeration. I make this dish for picnics, to bring to work for lunch and most recently at this weekend’s Super Bowl party.

This recipe includes one of my favorite vegetables, the sugar snap pea. Developed in 1979, the sugar snap pea is a relatively new food, and a hybrid of green peas and snow peas. They are sweet, crunchy, easy to chew, and a good source of fiber, iron, potassium and vitamin C.

Serving size: 6


  • 12 ounces whole wheat angel hair or spaghetti noodles, cooked (optional gluten-free pasta)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups sugar snap peas
  • 5 scallion (green onion) stalks, green and white parts finely diced
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil (add more if you like it spicier)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (can substitute with white vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3 cups of grilled chicken (optional)

Cook the pasta noodles in salted boiling water, stirring frequently during the first couple of minutes, then occasionally to ensure the noodles do not stick together. Cook it until it is “al dente”. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Place in large mixing bowl.

Add carrots, peppers and sugar snap peas to the pasta bowl. Reserve a tablespoon of scallions to use for garnish later and add the rest of the scallions to the pasta bowl.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, chili oil, vinegar, grated ginger, canola oil and sesame oil. Reserve 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds to use for garnish later and add the rest to the soy sauce dressing.

Add the dressing to the pasta bowl and toss thoroughly to ensure all the pasta and vegetables are coated with the dressing. Sometimes it’s easier to use clean hands to toss the pasta. The pasta can be served immediately, however I like to cover it and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours to give the pasta a chance to absorb the dressing. Toss the pasta after removing it from the refrigerator. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and sesame seeds before serving.


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Spicy Dark Chocolate, Pretzel & Caramel Surprise Cookie (aka “The Ultimate Tailgating Cookie”)

Warning.  These adult cookies are a bit naughty.  These not-so-kid-friendly treats have a spicy afternote, deep dark chocolate richness, salty crunch and sweet surprise that prefer to be chased by a cold beer over a glass of milk.

The decadent cookies were inspired by Sports Illustrated writer, Peter Bukowski, who had me thinking, what cookie would pair well with beer at a football tailgate?  I immediately enlisted Tracy, one of my best childhood pals, cookie queen and fellow Ironman triathlete, to help create the cookie.  Not only is Tracy a great cook; she also enjoys beer. While most of my recipes are healthy, this Hungry Athlete believes that it’s ok to indulge a little, every now and then.  I’ll be serving these cookies to a bunch of ultra runners this Super Bowl Sunday.  They’ll be burning a lot of calories prior to the game, so let’s indulge.

NOTE:  The caramel candy filling is optional.  I love caramel however I personally can only eat one of anything caramel.  To satisfy those who love to gobble up lots of caramel, I fill only half the batch with the Dove caramels.  For the best results, place the Dove caramels in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  Plain caramel candies hardened up too much at room temperature.

Serving size: 16-18 cookies

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ultrafine or superfine baking sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup thick medium sized pretzels (I used Snyder Old Thyme), rough chopped to the size of two chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package Dove caramel candies (optional), placed in freezer for 30 min


Preheat the oven to 350F and place the Dove chocolates in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

In a saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the butter.  Whisk in cocoa until smooth, then whisk in instant espresso and cayenne pepper.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside.

In a medium size bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and Kosher salt together.  Set it aside.

Using an electric mixer, on medium speed, with a whisk attachment, mix the egg and both sugars together.  Scrape the side of the bowl while mixing to ensure everything is well combined.  Add vanilla extract and continue mixing for another minute. Add the cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed until combined.  Then add the flour mixture and mix again until just combined.

With a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in chocolate chips and pretzel pieces by hand.  It might be easier to just use your fingers but don’t over mix.  There may be loose pieces of pretzels in the bowl.  You can redistribute those when forming the cookies.

Using your hands, shape the dough into 2 1/2 inch wide round cookies.  The dough will not spread much when baking. If you are incorporating caramel, wrap the dough around the caramel candy until it’s completely covered.  I try to cover up the pretzels so it’s a nice salty and crunchy surprise when biting into the cookie. It’s ok if some of the pretzel pieces are poking through. Place the formed cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 8-9 minutes.   Since you won’t be able to gauge the doneness of the cookies by observing how brown it is, I recommend test baking a couple cookies to determine the best baking time. Allow the cookies to cool slightly or completely.  Cookies will cool to a crisp on the outside and stay tender on the inside.  The caramel will remain soft at room temperature.

If you enjoy these cookies, stay tuned! Tracy and I are working on more cookies with beer.

Use the larger size pretzels and and rough chop about double the size of two chocolate chips.
Use the larger size pretzels and and rough chop about double the size of two chocolate chips.

On the left, with a caramel candy; on the right, without a caramel candy.
On the left, with a caramel candy; on the right, without a caramel candy.