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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

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.

Slow Cooker Steak Chili

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Slow Cooker Steak Chili is a super easy dump-and-go meal, yet incredibly flavorful! Make ahead and freeze. #freezermeal #realfood #thrivinghome

Three cheers for the slow cooker! I love this set it and forget it Slow Cooker Steak Chili because I don’t have to do anything but dump it in, set the timer, and walk away. Seriously. Several hours later I’ve got a hearty and comforting family meal.

Slow Cooker Steak Chili is a super easy dump and go meal but is full of Tex-mex flavor! Delish! #freezermeal #realfood

Just a few minutes of prep work results in an all-day, slow-cooked Tex Mex flavor! Wouldn’t this be a fun tailgate recipe in the fall?

Note: The heat level is fairly mild, so be sure to kick up the red pepper flakes if you like it hot.

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Slow Cooker Steak Chili is a super easy dump and go meal but is full of Tex-mex flavor! Delish! #freezermeal #realfood

Slow Cooker Steak Chili

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Slow Cooker Steak Chili for the win! This dump-and-go crockpot meal is hearty, flavorful, and freezer-friendly.


Ingredients

  • pounds stew beef, cut in 2-inch chunks
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced (or 1/2 cup frozen diced onions, to save time)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, with juice (tip: use fire-roasted tomatoes for more flavor)
  • 1 cup beef broth 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to add heat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Optional toppings: grated cheese*, sour cream or Greek yogurt*, diced avocados, a squeeze of lime, and/or fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, hot sauce or salsa

*Omit if making a dairy-free version.


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Place all ingredients, except the optional toppings, in the slow cooker. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours, until beef shreds easily two forks.
  3. Shred the beef with two forks before serving, if desired. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, as needed. Add optional toppings of choice and serve warm. 

Freeze For Later:

Option 1 (Uncooked): Add all ingredients, except the optional toppings, to a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked): Cook and completely cool the chili. Place in a freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen:

Option 1 (Uncooked): Thaw completely using one of these safe thawing methods. Dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker. Follow Steps 2 and 3.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked): Thaw completely using one of these safe thawing methods. Warm in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat, until warmed through. Stir occasionally.

Tomato Bisque Recipe {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Tomato Bisque: A Panera Bread fake-out recipe. Freezer Friendly, healthy dinner idea!
Anyone a big fan of Panera’s Tomato Bisque? I may have found a recipe as good or better. That’s a bold claim, I know. It began with this recipe from Food & Wine. But, then I added a few healthy spins to it–ones that did not sacrifice taste in any way I assure you!

The result was a huge home run with my entire family and a few of our friends on New Year’s Eve. I’m talking picky little kids and foodie adults, people. There are few recipes in my repertoire that I can honestly say that about.

My kids affectionately called it “ketchup soup,” in honor of their favorite condiment (and side dish). My husband and I just call it a soup worthy of a special occasion or any night.

Here are a few things you may want to know before making this soup:

  • I wrote the recipe for a crowd or for your family to have enough to freeze for later. If you want just enough for one 4-person meal, just simply cut it in half.
  • Seasoning all along the way is key to deep flavor. Season with S & P when you saute the veggies, season again when you add the liquids, and finally season at the end after tasting. But, don’t get too heavy-handed at the get go!
  • We also loved the kicked-up addition of the hot sauce at the end. I just left it out of the kids’ bowls.

Add a gourmet grilled cheese alongside this soup, and you’ve got the perfect winter comfort food. Plus, you’ll have just fed your family a bowl full of vegetables!

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Tomato Bisque from "From Freezer to Table" Cookbook. Order at FromFreezerToTable.com today.

Tomato Bisque Recipe (Panera Bread Fake-Out)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This comforting, hearty bisque is full of nutrition and rich flavor! It will win over kids and adults alike!


Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery rib, chopped
  • 46 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) organic low-sodium chicken stock or broth (or vegetarian broth)
  • Two 28-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (look for BPA-free cans)
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste (look for BPA-free cans)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (I used unrefined raw sugar)
  • 1/23/4 cup half and half
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup croutons, for garnish (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Then, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for 1 minute, or until flour is fully incorporated.
  4. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar.
  5. Season lightly with more with salt and pepper, if you’d like.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer (over about medium heat) and cover partially.
  7. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  8. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until fairly smooth. (Note: Please be careful during this step! Don’t fill the blender full. Cover the lid with a towel and hold securely while blending so the lid doesn’t pop off.) Carefully, return the puree to the saucepan.
  9. Add the half and half and cook over medium-low until the soup is just heated through.
  10. Taste and then season the soup with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to your preference.
  11. Swirl in the 4 tablespoons of butter.
  12. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with croutons, fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze: Full cook and fully cool. Freeze in a freezer container or bag and seal well. Store up to three months in freezer.
To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting in the microwave. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.