Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur

Chili with Beans & Bacon

This chili has a rich, meaty taste despite containing just 1.5 oz of meat per serving. The trio of bacon, turkey, and beef bouillon packs a lot of flavor to enhance the beans and veggies.

After checking the balance of my bank account this morning, I realized I’m going to be doing a lot of “cupboard adventure” sorts of recipes over the next two weeks. I was a bit over-enthusiastic in my grocery shopping recently, so the amount of money I have for spending on groceries and entertainment is lower than usual. With my partner’s birthday coming up, I’m certainly going to want to cook something special for him, so I need to save up for that. All in all, I really shouldn’t be spending more than $30/week on food for the next two weeks.

On the bright side, my cupboards are currently well-stocked: Perfect for coming up with something adventurous (in other words, anything I haven’t made before)! I don’t have a ton of food in my refrigerator, but there are some fresh vegetables, shredded cheese, and the standard array of condiments. And, since I was already pondering making some sort of chili over the past week, I have enough ingredients to make something like that!

Oh, and I had bacon too. Bacon is a personal downfall for me, in that I want to cook it all up and put it directly into my face. This is arguably the tastiest thing ever, but unfortunately it is also extremely unhealthy and not particularly economical. To avoid this, I used a mere 2.5 strips of bacon, lovingly cut in half and cooked until crisp, as the basis for my chili. The rest was divided up into other small portions, between 2 and 4 ounces each, and placed into my freezer. With even Trader Joe’s bacon costing $3.99 for a 12 ounce package, I have resolved to make it go as far as possible.

This is definitely a little bit of a “kitchen sink” recipe, throwing in a few ounces of ground turkey and a single carrot that needed to be used up. I highly recommend this approach if you’re on a limited budget; use what you have on hand! It both saves you from buying more groceries and it reduces waste.

I served my chili just a sprinkle of cheese, and a corn muffin on the side. It’s a great one-dish main course!

Chili with Beans & Bacon
2-3 strips of bacon (roughly 2 oz)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
4 oz ground turkey
15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed & drained
15 oz can of black beans, rinsed & drained
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, Southwestern-style or regular
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp beef bouillon powder (or one beef bouillon cube)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
Shredded monterey jack & cheddar cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon but keep the grease in the pan. Add the bell pepper and onion; cook at medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Add the turkey and carrot; cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the turkey is fully cooked.

Add the two cans of beans, the can of tomatoes, and all of the spices. Crumble in the bacon. Mix well. Simmer on low heat, barely bubbling, for one hour. If desired, sprinkle individual portions with cheese.

Makes four servings.
Cost per serving: $1.48
Calories per serving: 393

On Tweaking:

  • Many chili recipes use cannellini beans, so if you enjoy those, feel free to add them or substitute them for black beans or kidney beans.
  • I didn’t have any jalapenos on hand when I made this, but I bet they’d be a very tasty addition if you seed them, dice them, and add them in at the same time as the carrot.
  • Swap any ground meat you have on hand for the ground turkey! You could easily add up to 8 oz, if you had enough. Just be aware it will change the caloric content.
  • If you like corn in your chili, add some frozen or canned corn in at the same time you add the tomatoes.
  • As usual, red, orange, or yellow bell pepper can be swapped for green bell pepper.

A comforting classic for cold days, absolutely affordable, and full of protein – And contains bacon. What more can you ask for?

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This entry was posted on May 18, 2012 by in Dinners, Meat and tagged , .
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