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Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili (with Sweet Potato and Black Beans!)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This lean turkey chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients. It’s also gluten-free & dairy-free! This crockpot chili is delicious fresh but is also a great make ahead meal.

‘Tis the season for a good, healthy slow cooker recipe!

In the midst of heavy holiday meals and baked goods, this Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans is…hmmm…refreshing.

Can chili be refreshing? Well, not like refreshing in as a cold drink on a hot day. But, it definitely qualifies as a welcomed break from the overindulgent foods of late. It was a winner and will be a regular in our winter menu planning for sure. The jalapeño lends just the right amount of heat without being overpowering. It’s perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day.

What Makes this Turkey Chili Healthy?


This lean turkey chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients.

Here are some of the powerhouse ingredients in this delicious, yet, oh-so-healthy chili:

Is it Gluten-Free & Dairy Free?

You bet! This is a great recipe for anyone trying to minimize gluten and diary in their diet. Just skip the sour cream topping at the end and you have yourself a super healthy bowl of chili!

How Long do I Cook Turkey Chili in the Slow Cooker?

To make sure those sweet potatoes get cooked, this chili will need to cook on low for at least 6-8 hours. The shorter the time it cooks, the more firm the sweet potatoes will be. The longer, the softer.

You can also cook it on high for 5-6 but I prefer to cook it on low.

Turkey chili in the slow cooker

After testing hundreds of recipes for our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, we have narrowed down the perfect cooking times for almost all types of slow cooker meals. Be sure to download our cheat sheet below!

Can I Freeze Turkey Chili?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for an easy, healthy freezer meal. It holds up incredibly well in the freezer! It’s one of my favorite soups to make at the beginning of the week and freeze for lunches.

There are two ways to make this a freezer meal:

  1. Fully cook and cool the soup and freeze it in small containers. Use one of our safe thawing methods when you want to eat it!
  2. Prepare it so it will be ready to dump in the slow cooker later. Here’s how:

Follow step 1, but set the sweet potato aside to cool instead of transferring it to the slow cooker. Follow step 2 and let the meat mixture cool. Transfer the sweet potatoes and meat mixture to a gallon-size freezer bag or container and add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 ⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Seal, toss gently to combine, and freeze.

To prepare from frozen, thawing and transfer the chili to the slow cooker. Follow steps 4 and 5.

Pro Tip: I love using Super Cubes (like in the photo above) for freezing soups.

How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Alright, now that you are equipped with all of the turkey chili knowledge you will ever need, time to get cooking! Just follow the recipe below and let us know if you have any questions! Be sure to check out our round-up of 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes that feed a crowd!

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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potato and Black Beans

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This lean chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients. The jalapeño lends just the right amount of heat without being overpowering. It’s perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, liquid and all
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounce) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Topping for serving: hot sauce, diced avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar, diced onions, salsa, thinly sliced green onion, etc.

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a large pan over medium to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté diced sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes, until just softened. Season lightly with salt and pepper while sautéing. Add sweet potato mixture to slow cooker insert.
  2. Turn up heat to medium-high. In same pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté the onions, jalapeño pepper, garlic and ground turkey, stirring and breaking up the meat. Cook until meat is cooked through (no longer pink) and onions softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper while sautéing. Drain off any grease. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Add meat mixture and remaining ingredients (chili powder through black beans) to the slow cooker insert, stirring until well combined.
  4. Slow cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts. Add hot sauce to increase heat at the end, if desired. Serve topped with your favorite chili toppings (diced avocado, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheddar, diced onions, etc.).

Freezer For Later: Complete recipe through Step 2. Add the cooked and cooled meat and vegetables to a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Then, add the remaining ingredients (chili powder through black beans) to the same bag. Seal, toss gently to mix, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Cook according to instructions beginning with Step 4.


Notes

Instant Pot Instructions: Follow steps 1-2 in the recipe, sautéing the sweet potatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ground turkey directly in the Instant Pot (using the Sauté function). Press Cancel. Then, stir in the remaining ingredients (chili powder through black beans). Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes with a quick release of the pressure when done.

Healthy slow cooker turkey chili being scooped out of a white bowl

Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

By Polly Conner

This is the only Mexican Soup recipe you’ll ever need. I’ve been making a variation of this soup for my family and guests for years.

Mexican soup in a white bowl with toppings

Affiliate links are used this this post.

One of the things I appreciate most about this Mexican Soup recipe is its versatility. It can be made on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot. It’s also a crowd-pleaser and makes a large batch, so it’s a great recipe for groups of people or to use as a make ahead freezer meal. And get this: this soup is made with real food ingredients.

Seriously, you need this soup in your kitchen! 

How to Make Mexican Soup: You Choose!

There aren’t many soups that can be made every which way. This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to this recipe! Here’s a quick overview of your options:

MAKE MEXICAN SOUP ON THE STOVE:

After cooking the onions and the beef in a skillet, add all the ingredients into a large stockpot. Simmer for 1-2 hours.

MAKE MEXICAN SOUP IN THE SLOW COOKER:

After cooking the onions and the beef in a skillet, add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

MAKE MEXICAN SOUP IN THE INSTANT POT:

Use the sauté setting to cook the onions and beef. Add all the ingredients in, lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure.

Mexican soup in a white bowl

Can I Freeze this Mexican Soup recipe?

Yes yes yes! Mexican soup freezes and thaws beautifully BEFORE or AFTER cooking. Because it makes such a big batch, I almost always freeze it in small portions to have for lunches down the road. When frozen after cooking, it can also be a great freezer meal for 1-2 people.

TO FREEZE:

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Cook the onions and beef, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, and freezer in airtight freezer containers.

Option 2 (After Cooking): Follow all of the cooking instructions in the recipe below. Let cool and freeze in airtight freezer containers.

TO PREPARE:

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Let the soup thaw completely. Then follow the cooking instructions for whatever cooking method you choose (see options below).

Option 2 (After Cooking): Let soup thaw completely. Then just warm up in the microwave or on the stove on low until desired temp.

Mexican soup with toppings and spoon

Where to Get Ground Beef You Can Trust

A recipe is only as good as the ingredients in it. This is why we continually nudge people to use high-quality, organic produce and meat if possible.

One EASY way to have humanely raised 100% grass-fed beef delivered to your door is through ButcherBox.

What is ButcherBox?

ButcherBox has high-quality meat delivered to your door… easy and convenient. They carry humanely raised 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon all free of antibiotics and added hormones.

Polly Conner with ButcherBox

What Should I Serve with Mexican Soup?

Believe me when I say this soup is hearty. You won’t need much more to go with it other than tortilla chips or maybe some corn bread. I like to provide some optional toppings like:

Want More Recipes That Are Great for Groups?

Check out our roundup of 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes for Groups of People.

Ok, ready to chow down on some Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup? Get after it!

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Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Super easy Mexican soup recipe. Packed with flavor, very filling and makes a TON. Great recipe for large groups. Freezer friendly as well!


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (or sub ground chicken or turkey) (where to find meat you can trust)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (Sub: 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, juices and all (Tip: Use fire-roasted tomatoes for more flavor.)
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chilies, juices and all
  • 2 (15 oz) cans shoe peg white corn, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 quart of chicken broth 
  • 1 cup mild salsa (use medium if you like spice!)
  • Optional Toppings: Shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, squeeze of fresh lime, red onion

 


Instructions

Make It Now

Stove Top Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. 
  2. Add in garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is cooked through (5-7 minutes.) Drain the grease from the meat.
  3. Add the meat mixture and all other ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Optional: Serve with your favorite Tex Mex toppings.

Slow Cooker Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. 
  2. Add in garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is cooked through (5-7 minutes.) Drain the grease from the meat.
  3. Add the meat mixture and all other ingredients to a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  4. Optional: Serve with your favorite Tex Mex toppings.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the 6-quart Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. 
  2. Add in garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is cooked through (5-7 minutes.) Press cancel. Drain the grease from the meat.
  3. Add all other ingredients to the Instant Pot. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. 
  4. Optional: Serve with your favorite Tex Mex toppings.

Freeze For Later

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Cook the onions and beef, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, and freezer in airtight freezer containers.

Option 2 (After Cooking): Follow all of the cooking instructions in the recipe. Let the soup cool and then freeze in airtight freezer containers.

Prepare From Frozen

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Let the soup thaw completely. Then follow the cooking instructions for whatever cooking method you choose in the recipe above.

Option 2 (After Cooking): Let soup thaw completely. Then just warm up in the microwave, on the stove on low, or in the slow cooker on low, until warmed through.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This pantry staple Vegetarian Tortilla Soup recipe is a meatless “one pot wonder” that I’ve been making and freezing for years for my family. Filled with beans, tomatoes, chilis, corn, and more, it only gets better the longer it sits in the fridge.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Photo Credit: Hélène Dejardin: From Freezer to Cooker

Why Make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup?

Years ago I implemented a small goal of having at least one day a week be meatless for our family. This is for three reasons: it’s cheap, it’s often healthier, and it’s better for the environment (raising animals utilizes much more of our natural resources than raising crops).

The great thing about Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is that it’s hearty enough for any meat eater in your family and makes a big batch for a crowd or just to have on hand all week long.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup in a large stock pot

Another benefit is the flexibility of this soup. You can prepare it on the stove, in the Instant pot, or in the slow cooker. Plus, we also include instructions for how to make it ahead and freeze a batch for later.

Not only that, but you can use up what you have on hand with this “kitchen sink”-type soup. Don’t have green chilis? Add a little more salsa. Don’t have rice? Try quinoa. Have fresh veggies on hand? I’ve thrown in chopped zucchini, spinach, and diced bell pepper before with great results (just cook until they are soft).

Ingredients for Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

While I typically stick to the ingredients below, feel free to use up what you have on hand with this “kitchen sink”-type soup. Don’t have green chilis? Add a little more salsa. Don’t have rice? Try quinoa. Have fresh veggies on hand? I’ve thrown in chopped zucchini, spinach, and diced bell pepper before with great results. They will all cook just fine. Here is where to start though:

  • Vegetable broth or chicken broth (make your own chicken broth here)
  • Vegetarian refried beans
  • Black beans
  • Corn
  • Petite diced tomatoes
  • Diced green chilis
  • Mild or medium salsa
  • Taco seasoning (Use our homemade taco seasoning here)
  • Cooked brown rice (or throw cauliflower rice in with all the ingredients and cook with all the other ingredients!)

Keep these pantry staple ingredients on hand all the time, and you’ll always have a delicious, healthy meal ready to go in minutes.

Can I Make this Soup in the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

Yep!

Slow Cooker Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Instant Pot Method: We have written a whole post on how to make Instant Pot Tortilla Soup here. Hop on over!

How to Make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

It’s hard to mess up Vegetarian Tortilla Soup! Just follow this simple recipe using either the stovetop or slow cooker instructions. You can also freeze it! Freezer meal instructions are in the recipe.

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This one-pot wonder is packed with flavor but is also vegetarian! This winning combination of ingredients and flavors is sure to impress your family and friends.


Ingredients

  • 1 (32 ounce) box vegetable stock (Sub: chicken stock or broth)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can vegetarian refried beans* (Sub: drained pinto beans that have been smashed with a fork)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (Sub: kidney or pinto beans)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained (Sub: 2 cups frozen corn)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (juice and all) (Tip: Fire-roasted diced tomatoes are delicious!)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (Sub: 1/2 cup salsa)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural taco seasoning mix
  • 12 cups cooked brown rice (Sub: cooked quinoa)
  • Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeños, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, crushed tortilla chips, lime wedges, diced avocado

Instructions

Make It Now:

Stovetop Method: In a large pot, combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while it cooks. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Slow Cooker Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Instant Pot Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Freeze For Later:

Method 1 (Uncooked): Combine all ingredients in a pot/bowl, except rice and optional toppings. (Don’t worry if the refried beans aren’t completely integrated.) Carefully ladle the soup into gallon-sized freezer bags or containers and seal. Package the cooked rice in a small freezer bag and freeze alongside the soup.

Method 2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook the soup according to instructions. Stir in the rice. Let cool. Freeze in freezer bags or containers, as individual servings or one full meal. Freeze until ready to use.

Prepare From Frozen: 

Method 1 (Uncooked): Fully thaw the soup. Cook according to instructions.

Method 2 (Fully Cooked):

Stove or Slow Cooker: Warm over low heat on the stove or in the slow cooker.

Instant Pot: Turn on Saute button and warm over low, stirring frequently.*


Notes

*If you want to cook the soup from frozen in the Instant Pot, you’ll need to freeze it in a round container that is smaller than the diameter of the pot. When ready to cook, turn on the “Saute” function and saute the frozen block of soup for 5-10 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel”. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 12-17 minutes with a quick release.

Gluten-Free: If using a taco seasoning packet from the store, be sure to buy one that is gluten-free.

Dairy-Free: Omit using any cheese or sour cream on top.

Baked Nachos–A Healthy, Fast, Kid-Friendly Meal

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Nachos for dinner?! Yes please. With this baked nachos recipe, you can snazz up ordinary nachos to be a healthy and satisfying dinner for everyone in the family.

It’s almost silly that I’m posting this recipe since it’s so easy, but I feel compelled to share Baked Nachos since they are:

– A home run every time I make them for the fam.

– Quick! Baked Nachos only take about 15 minutes from start to finish.

– A well-rounded, healthy meal when you offer a variety of veggie toppings and use beans and/or grass-fed beef.

– Suitable for different tastes.  Besides offering a variety of toppings, I also make half of the baked nachos with black beans and half with grass-fed beef for my picky people.

– A one pan meal!  Less clean-up is always a plus.

Freezer Tip: Another thing that makes Baked Nachos fast is if you make seasoned taco meat in bulk and freeze it in small portions.  Then, you can pull the meat from the freezer at the last minute, defrost in the microwave, and you’re ready to go.

Nachos for dinner?! Yes please. With this baked nachos recipe, you can snazz up ordinary nachos to be a healthy and satisfying dinner for everyone in the family.
Nachos for dinner?! Yes please. With this baked nachos recipe, you can snazz up ordinary nachos to be a healthy and satisfying dinner for everyone in the family.
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Baked Nachos

Baked Nachos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Nachos
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Baked Nachos are a healthy, quick, kid-friendly meal that will please the whole family. Save yourself some time and have the meat cooked in advance. Just pop it out of the freezer for a fun meal your family will love!


Ingredients

  • 3040 tortilla chips (preferably organic and/or with few ingredients)
  • 1/21 cup black beans, drained
  • 1/41/2 lb cooked, taco-seasoned grass-fed beef
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or more or less to your taste)
  • Topping ideas:
  • – shredded lettuce
  • – tomatoes, diced
  • – avocado, diced
  • – black olives, sliced
  • – onion, diced
  • – jalepeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • – salsa
  • – sour cream or whole plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Spread nachos in a single layer on the bottom of pan. Cover with beans and beef. Top with cheese.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  5. While baking, prepare all the toppings.
  6. Serve nachos immediately and top with favorite toppings.
  7. We round out the meal with a fruit salad.