Chicken & Turkey · Lunch & Dinner · Meatless · Soups

Award Winning Chili

Before moving to the midwest, I can’t really remember ever eating chili.  My mom never made it, and it just wasn’t a staple of life in Pennsylvania like it is here in Indiana and the south.  Here everyone makes chili in the winter months especially, and everyone makes it differently, or likes it a certain way.  Some like spicy, or meaty, or sweet, or vegetarian, with noodles, without noodles, lots of beans, or no beans… you get the idea.  You can put just about anything in it that you want, and you can make it a little differently every time if you want, depending on what you have in the house!  This is my go-to chili recipe that I make every year and really like, and this did actually win an award for “Most Original” at my friend’s annual chili cook-off party!



  •    1 lb. ground turkey or ground chicken (I’ve also used morningstar farms soy crumbles to make this vegetarian.)
  •    3 1/2 cups tomato juice
  •    1 (15 oz) can chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
  •    1 can Bush’s chili beans – mild or medium (I’ve used medium and it wasn’t too spicy)
  •    1 can red kidney beans, drained
  •    1 can white kidney beans or cannellini beans, drained
  •    2 cans diced tomatoes (chili ready if you can find that, or just regular with nothing else added to them)
  •    1 mild chili seasoning packet (or make your own with recipe below)
  •    1 small yellow onion, chopped
  •    1/2 box of pasta (I usually use macaroni type but any small pasta will work)
  •    4 TBS Brown sugar
  •    2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  •    Salt & pepper to taste
  •    2 bay leaves (optional)

Chili seasoning:

  • 2-3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more if you want the chili to be spicy
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

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Brown meat in skillet along with onions.

While meat is browning, boil pasta as directed on box.



Add 1/2 cup of the tomato juice and the chili seasoning to meat & onions and mix.



That utensil you see in above picture is the Pampered Chef Mix n chopper, which I love for breaking up ground meat in the skillet!

Combine everything in a large crock pot (mine’s 5 qt) and put it on high for about 2 hours, then down to low until you’re ready to eat it…

It’s better the longer you let it cook!!  It makes quite a bit and unless I’m making it for a party or company I freeze half of it for another meal.

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Serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheese if desired.






Pictures from the Chili Cook-off!

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One thought on “Award Winning Chili

  1. Hi Nicci,
    I would love to have a bowl, yum! Don’t forget peanut butter sandwiches are a staple with chili in Indiana! I love the picture of you both at the end too.
    Love you, Ellen


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