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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

Potato Corn Chowder ( Autumn Chowder)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Thanks to the cheddar cheese and bacon, this veggie-loaded potato chowder tastes so rich. This soup is easy to assemble and the leftovers can be easily frozen. A one pot comfort food that you’ll be making all winter long!

Potato Corn Chowder in a dark bowl

Done. I will be making this Potato Chowder every fall from here on out.

My friend Jeannette has been singing the praises of this soup for quite some time, but I didn’t believe her until I tried it for myself. This chowder is full of vegetables, yet has a creamy, richness thanks to a bit of crispy bacon, milk, and freshly shredded cheddar. My husband and two of the three kids gave it a thumbs up. At least the picky eater enjoyed the potatoes in it. 🙂

How to Make Potato Corn Chowder

Fry up some bacon!

I mean, if any recipes starts with bacon, I’m in. We recommend using uncured bacon but no matter the type, dice it up and throw it in a large pot to fry up.

Bacon frying in a large metal pot

After bacon is done and crispy, set it aside, drain off most of the grease. Now toss in some diced onion and garlic. Your kitchen will be smelling pretty phenomenal at this point.

Sauteed onions in a pot

After those cook for a bit, you’ll add in some chicken broth, your cooked bacon, diced carrots, and potatoes. That will simmer for about 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.

OK, so your veggies have cooked. Time to add in some more goodness.

Milk, corn, and cheese for example! This cheese is actually tossed with a little flour before tossing it in.

Make sure to stir the cheese in very slowly or else it will clump up and not melt in smoothly.

Shredded cheddar cheese being stirring into a pot

Stir it all up and either eat it now or you can pop it in the fridge to have later!

Do I have to peel the potatoes for this soup?

Nope! Because we’re using Yukon potatoes in this recipe, there is no need to peel them. Their peel is so thin and tender, you won’t even notice they are there. What a huge time saver!

Diced yukon potatoes

Can I freeze chowder?

Absolutely! Having a stash of frozen soup is one of our favorite types of freezer meals.

If you want to turn this Potato Corn Chowder into a freezer meal, simply let it cool and freeze it either in small containers or a large one.

Small portions allow for individual meals down the road. Much like our freezer meal recipes for 1-2 people, this one works great to pop out for lunches or to pass on to anyone who may need a meal. We recommend using Souper Cubes for small portion freezer meals.

Stack of freezer meals.

If you freeze in a large airtight container, you have a whole meal ready to pop out and make when you need one on a busy night. We recommend a freezer storage bag and freezing it flat to save freezer space.

Then, when you’re ready to eat it, thaw completely in the fridge and warm over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.

What to Serve with Potato Corn Chowder

  • I love to have oyster crackers with potato based soups like this one.
  • Salads! Our Autumn Chopped Salad would be amazing with this one!

We hope this delicious Potato Corn Chowder (aka Autumn Chowder) warms you through and provides some comfort this week!

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Potato Corn Chowder

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Comfort in a bowl. A great dinner idea for the entire family. Freezer friendly too!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb bacon, chopped (I use uncured)
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups diced Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • optional: parsley, chopped

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat, until crispy (but not over cooked), about 4-5 minutes. Remove bacon and put on a plate that’s covered with paper towels (to absorb grease). If you want, wipe out some of the grease from the pot.
  2. Add  the onions and garlic to the same pot and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  3. Stir in the chicken broth, cooked bacon, potatoes, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Put a lid on and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Stir in milk and corn and heat until simmering. Meanwhile, toss shredded cheese with flour in a bowl.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Slowly stir in the cheese to the soup, stirring constantly in a figure 8 pattern until cheese is melted.
  6. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, as desired. (Note: If your soup is too thick, you can add more milk or stock to thin it out and then warm through. Be sure to adjust seasoning accordingly.)
  7. Serve warm. Top with a little chopped parsley for a color and taste pop.

Freeze for Later: Follow Steps 1-6. After the soup cools, place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container (or in individual servings). Try to remove as much air as possible and seal it well before placing in the freezer.

Prepare From Frozen: To reheat, thaw 24-48 hours in the fridge (preferred method) or by using the defrost setting on the microwave. Then, warm chowder over low or medium-low heat on the stove, gently stirring occasionally.

Potato Corn Chowder in bowls

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.

Hearty Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge, freezer, and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Whip up a big batch and your family will eat on this all week long.

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup.

I call this soup my “post holiday cleanse” soup. It’s pretty much all I desire after a few weeks of overly indulgent foods. Every few weeks in the winter (especially right after the holidays), I like to whip up a huge pot of this filling, nutritious, and warming Hearty Vegetable Soup. Then, we eat on it all week long.

You can really add whatever veggies you have on hand to this recipe. I also like to add in black beans or lentils, as well. It’s a great one for cleaning out the fridge (and the digestive system..ha, ha!). Plus, it takes no time at all.

Now, if you really want to make this a homemade comfort meal, try your hand at my favorite Easy Homemade Sandwich Bread. I break it down step-by-step so that anyone can do this. A slice of this warm homemade bread would perfectly compliment a steaming bowl of Hearty Vegetable Soup.

homemade wheat sandwich bread
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hearty vegetable soup recipe

Hearty Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: about 12 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Whip up a big batch and your family will eat on this all week long.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium or large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 12 cups chicken broth (three 32 oz boxes of broth)
  • 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 34 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced (do not peel)
  • 12 cups fresh or frozen green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • 12 cups frozen corn
  • 12 cups frozen peas
  • Optional: chopped kale or spinach

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it’s shimmery. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another minute. Add broth, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the potatoes, green beans, and corn. (Don’t add the peas yet.) Reduce to a simmer (a low bubble). Season with a bit more salt and pepper, but don’t go overboard since you can adjust the seasoning at the end. Cook and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender (check by piercing with a fork).
  3. Stir in the frozen peas (and stir in the optional kale/spinach), until they are warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  4. Serving suggestion: Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and serve with a good loaf of crusty bread.

Freeze For Later: Prepare soup as directed. If you do not plan on eating any of it on the day you prepare it, do not add the frozen peas. Let soup cool completely. Place in freezer safe bags or containers. Store for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Let soup thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Warm on low on stovetop or in a slow cooker. You may need to add a little more water or broth as the vegetables tend to soak up the liquid once it sits.