Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Alright, here we go. Highs in the 50s and chilly nights. A head cold. I cannot leave my house in the morning without a jacket (or else I’ll freeze during marching band rehearsal). Summer is over…

…but on the bright side, it’s time once again for soup, stews & chili. Yum.

Oh, and football on Sundays 🙂 I love my Cleveland Browns, but that’s a post for another day…

I came across this recipe over at In Her Chucks. It’s a great blog – I really enjoy reading it (hint: check it out!). This dish is a great meal for a chili fall evening; I especially am glad that it uses bell peppers. That is one thing I have a lot of right now…green bell peppers! Which, truthfully, I’m not a fan of on their own. But, I will eat them in chili. I promise.

And yes, it involves using pumpkin in another way other than bakery, pie, and lattes 😉

Turkey Pumpkin Chili – adapted from In Her Chucks

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (of your choice), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • about 1 lb of pumpkin or squash; pureed or smooshed up pretty well
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the aromatics and peppers, stirring often until they are cooked.
  2. Add the turkey & cook until brown.
  3. Add the tomatoes, pumpkin/squash, water, and spices. Bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat to low and add the kidney beans. Cover & simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve like any other chili – in our house, that means with crackers, cheddar cheese, raw onion or scallions, and spaghetti!

If you don’t have canned or fresh pumpkin laying around, you can use a winter squash or maybe even butternut squash. I though this would be a good way, though, to use pumpkin that may have arrived in your CSA, or that you simply see at the store next time you go grocery shopping. It’s not too hard to make your own pumpkin puree, so I’ve found! I’ll be using this technique to attack the winter squash & pumpkins that are looking decorative in my dining room since I’m out of pantry space.

Happy Fall, everyone! 🙂

CSA ’13, Week 16

I don’t know about you, but this Monday kicked my butt!

Last week was a long one. And BUSY! I had the first of two homecomings to direct at…truthfully I only know what day it is because it’s marching season. Two more games to go and then I get my Friday nights back! I love marching band, and I love my job, but I’m ready to be indoors in the mornings 😉

This week’s CSA gave us a new surprise or two that we didn’t have last year:


  • Tomatoes
  • Brussels sprouts!!!
  • purple peppers
  • greenpeppers
  • red cabbage
  • jalapeno peppers
  • two heads of lettuce
  • acorn squash

This weekend we had some friends over for an Italian-themed murder mystery dinner. All of us had a lot of fun and I made homemade pasta the first time. We were worried that we wouldn’t have enough…and ended up with a ton of pasta! Leftovers have gone into some chicken soup, as well as a casserole that I think deserves a post in the near future!

Now amidst all the lesson planning & school work to be done, I need to figure out what to do with that red cabbage. Any ideas?


CSA Week 15

It’s safe to say that we are definitely into autumn now. The leaves up here are starting to really change color (though we’re nowhere near peak yet) and it’s been raining since just before my band marched onto the field for halftime on Friday night.

When reading a few of the blogs I follow, one author noted that they only have about 2-3 more weeks to go until the end of the CSA. I quickly checked my calendar…we have 3 more weeks to go, the last pick-up day being October 22. Wow…the season sure flew by fast! Thankfully though we are nowhere near temperatures for s-n-o-w and I am really feeling for those who live out west who have 48 inches of that awful stuff already!

My goal this week is to do more legitimate cooking, instead of preserving and ordering take-out. You’d think a month into school I’d be into some sort of routine, but I’m still not. ::sigh:: We at least got another nice, colorful haul from the farm this week!

Week 15

Week 15

  • more bell peppers
  • white onion
  • a winter squash!
  • jalapenos
  • sweet peppers
  • eggplant (we’ve had a lot of eggplant this year…)
  • lettuce
  • a nice variety of tomatoes
  • beet greens (hmmm….)

I’m actually kind of glad to see some lettuce again, and that the tomato supply is still in some abundance. Lots of salads this week for lunches! My tomato plants I believe will be officially ‘done’ this week – I have a pan of cherry tomatoes roasting in the oven as I type, and I just finished yet another quart of tomato sauce.

Any recommendations out there for usage of beet greens?

CSA Week 14

Alright…I gotta admit it. Blogging got put on the back burner this week. Along with cooking anything remotely interesting (either that, or it was simply a repeat recipe). And then, I went camping with the girls for a night and ate potato chips and beer for dinner (still smacking my forehead, should’ve had a V8 style)

So forgive the lacklusterness of my blog, please? 🙂

Week 14 in the CSA has brought around a new set of fun things to work with:photo (22)

  • lots of sweet, red peppers
  • purple & green peppers
  • tomatillos
  • plums
  • thyme
  • pie pumpkin!
  • eggplant
  • white onion
  • cherry tomatoes
  • big tomatoes

I was especially excited about the tomatillos! I remember I made something with them last summer – what it was, I can’t remember – but this weekend I did cook up a batch of tomatillo salsa. It will be perfect with the fajitas that I’m making for dinner tonight. I’m hoping that the farm will still have them in the coming week’s share; if this salsa is as good as I think it is, I’m going to want to make a larger batch! 🙂

We also had some ‘Stanley’ plums. The farm doesn’t put fruit in our shares very often so this was a nice surprise. I’m not the biggest fan of them, but I did try them, which is a pretty big deal for me since I’m pretty picky when it comes to fruit.

Tonight, when I’m not doing something related to work, I am hoping to figure out what to do with a ginormous zucchini that I received from one of my students (it’s about as big as one we received as a ‘gift’ last year. I’m thinking a batch of zucchini bread may be in order…hmm..any of you have any suggestions?

CSA Week 13

Well, we’re officially into fall now and the veggies just keep on coming! It’s Saturday night (as I write this) and I have 5 pints of diced tomatoes in the water bath canner. My garden is still pretty happy and we haven’t had a major frost yet, so I’ll enjoy the beautiful fall harvest as much as I can 🙂

Meanwhile in CSA land, we had another neat haul to bring home:


I love the color of my laundry room…

  • green & purple peppers
  • banana peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • eggplant
  • dinosaur kale
  • lacinato kale
  • more tomatoes!!!
  • fresh sage
  • purple kohlrabi

We also had a neat addition to this week’s CSA – fruit! We received a few Michigan peaches:


Lucky for Mike, I am not a peach fan – so he had these all to himself! (he had already eaten one by the time I had taken a picture).

I’ll be chopping & freezing the bell peppers tomorrow. The kale will also be making a great salad with some locally made peanut sauce (on my list to buy tomorrow). I’m starting to get really good at prepping lunches again (thank goodness)! This time of year is a very busy one for me because of marching season. The next Friday night I’ll have ‘off will be November 1st. Needless to say, I’ve got to start being proactive again with dinners & leftovers, and dust off the ol’ crockpot again.

Question for Ya: What’s your favorite crockpot meal? I need some new ideas. Bonus points for if it is meatless!

CSA Week 12

I swear I haven’t forgotten about you all.

Last week was a tad hectic. I had a very busy week up at school, and needed to focus on lesson plans & grading (which, of course, I’m still behind in). My parents & grandma came in for a visit over the weekend, too – so I was all sorts of super busy having fun with them. Casinoing, going out to Traverse & the dunes, some cabinets for the laundry room, catching up…such a wonderful time!

Now, back to work and back to reality. Last week’s CSA, again, had a nice variety of veggies:


  • pattypan squash
  • yellow summer squash (I think this is the last of it)
  • kale
  • red cabbage
  • cucumber
  • thyme
  • eggplant
  • sweet peppers
  • green peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • lots of tomatoes

Between the CSA and the harvest from my garden, at one point last week I had 11 lbs of tomatoes sitting on my counter. I made it into salsa once again; my mom & I picked another 5 lbs of romas, which is now tomato sauce – that’s going to be so amazing once the s-word starts to fly. I’m not quite sure what else I’m going to get out of my garden the rest of this season – we had a moderate frost/freeze warning overnight. Of course, the farmers are pros, so the CSAs will continue to remain colorful.

Speaking of colorful, the leaves are starting to change. The human in me is loving the necessity of long-sleeved shirts, an extra blanket on the bed, and no window A/C. The band director in me is wishing for temps to be about 10-15* warmer. ‘Tis the season, I suppose!

CSA 2013 – Week 11

I have a lot of work to do.

I have a lot of work to do.

This week was the first week of school – thus I haven’t had much time to do any canning, pickling, etc. because I’ve been absolutely zonked once I get home. I need to make it a rule never to sit on my couch until I’m done with any housework or cooking for the night, because I swear that thing absorbs any remnant energy left in our bodies.

So as you can see…we’ve had a huge tomato harvest from the garden & I’ll need to go up there tomorrow (Saturday) to get another haul of tomatoes. I’ll be up bright and early to start making a batch of tomato sauce. Making it on your own and freezing it really isn’t bad at all; it just takes a while. I may end up purchasing a food mill Saturday to help out with this process – a strainer & spoon isn’t going to cut it this time around. I’ll have to weigh out all those tomatoes and let you know how many pounds it is – and get a picture of the heirlooms, too (they’re hidden in this picture).

Meanwhile, we had a nice little haul this week from the farm. A nice variety, but nothing too overwhelming.

Week of Sept 3, 2013

Week of Sept 3, 2013

  • orange & yellow sweet peppers (they’re so good!)
  • jalapeno (I think)
  • cucumber
  • basil
  • onion
  • purple pepper
  • banana peppers
  • more tomatoes!
  • eggplant
  • red potatoes
  • zucchini & yellow squash

One item I’m surprised isn’t in there is garlic! I had so much garlic last year and it lasted me until this past May. I think I may have to stock up a bit before the summer is over.

So far of this haul, I’ve frozen the eggplant, and thrown some banana peppers into leftover pickle brine (to see what they’d do). I’ve also started getting into the basil and taking caprese salad into work for lunch.

My first football game of the season is tonight – let’s just hope that the 30% chance of rain doesn’t come true! Do an anti-rain dance for me, if you can 😉

CSA 2013 – Week 10

I’ve been back at school for teacher meetings & open houses, so I didn’t pick up the CSA this week (thanks, Mike). I tell ya, where did all the weeks go? The summer has seemed to fly by…it’s been nice to catch up with my colleagues.  I have to admit though, the more time I’ve spent in my classroom these past few days, the more excited I am to start the year out. Which means that I haven’t completely lost my mind.


But enough about work. This week’s CSA had lots of variety! I was very excited to unpack it & see the amount of color that was in the box. I mean, wow. I was impressed!

2013, Week 10

2013, Week 10

  • white & purple eggplant…I spy eggplant parmesan in my future
  • red & green lettuces
  • cherry tomatoes
  • big ol’ tomatoes
  • more zucchini & summer squash
  • pattypan squash
  • a chocolate pepper (I think)
  • banana peppers
  • orange medium-hot pepper
  • onion
  • garlic
  • chinese cabbage
  • curly parsley

Speaking of tomatoes, the tomatoes in my garden have all started to turn red! I have quite a few large tomatoes for salsa & dicing, cherry tomatoes for roasting (I started them from seed! In the ground in May!), and pear-shaped ones for eating 🙂 I also have quite a few Roma tomatoes (that I started from seed in May, too!) that I hope to turn into my first batch of true homemade tomato sauce. I’ve got quite a bit of work ahead of me as far as canning goes; I won’t be home til after 7pm tomorrow due to Open House…and on days where I’m gone for 12 hours, I like to try and make it a point not to do anything to insanely productive once I get home.

Note the word try. 😉

I’ve also got some cucumbers that I could’ve sworn were not in existance on Friday. When we went up there tonight, I was so shocked to see them on the vines. As you can predict, they’ll become pickles. I tried my hand at bread & butter pickles a few weeks ago & Mike is definitely a fan; he’s requested a few more jars of it, which I’m more than happy to make.

But now I’m off to go prep part of dinner for tomorrow night. If it’s a winner, you may see it appear 🙂



CSA 2013: Week 9

Mother Nature turned the heat back on 🙂 Just in time for a visit from my  in-laws this coming weekend and my last true weekend of summer vacation (teacher meetings & open houses next week). I know that many of you out there are not fans of hot weather, so I won’t gloat anymore!

This week’s pick-up was a heavy one!


  • corn – 6 ears! Which is perfect because whenever I make corn, my husband will eat 2 ears.
  • a white pepper – ok, maybe yellowish white?
  • banana peppers (two were a top-off)
  • a jalapeno pepper
  • green cauliflower
  • fresh thyme
  • onion
  • eggplant
  • lettuce
  • zucchini
  • summer squash
  • a patty pan squash & a round squash
  • tomatoes (two were a top-off)

With last week’s haul, I dried the basil in my oven and found a great way to freeze parsley. I also diced up the squashes & froze them for soup. Several pints of salsa (I gave in and used Mrs. Wages), dill pickles, and pickled jalapenos are all now stashed away on a shelf in my basement stairwell; it’s looking as though I have canned enough to move everything downstairs – which is both a blessing & a curse, as I have a cool-temp Michigan basement full of lots of cobwebs 😦

As I mentioned before, one set of in-laws is coming to visit this weekend & we will be cooking a meal or two for them. We haven’t exactly figured out what to make yet, though…but we’re getting there 🙂

CSA 2013 – Week 8

Boy, did it cool off this week! The past few days we’ve been in jeans & sweatshirts all but the afternoon. It’s finally starting to warm-up a bit and we should see the high 70s again by the weekend, thankfully. If it were late September or early October, this weather would be *perfect*. But, it’s mid-August. I’m not ready yet 😉

This week’s CSA was still chock-full of goodies, as usual.

2013, Week 8

2013, Week 8

  • flat-leaf parsley
  • another huge basil plant
  • cherry tomatoes
  • bigger tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic (this week’s top-off choice)
  • eggplant
  • green & purple peppers
  • zucchini & yellow squash
  • cauliflower
  • curly kale
  • red potatoes

Yep, this is ONE clove from this week’s garlic bulbs!

The cherry tomatoes have been used in a chopped caprese salad that I reblogged the other day from Inherchucks. The cauliflower was roasted right away with some garlic & olive oil, and served alongside our favorite meatloaf from a local butcher (which was definitely a comfort-food choice with the colder weather we’ve had).

I brought home two bulbs of garlic and decided to roast one, using AnnieRie’s technique. The oven was nice and warm from the meatloaf & roasted cauliflower, so it was the perfect time to do so. Coveyou’s garlic has some large, large cloves this year! The garlic clove that I had chopped to go with the cauliflower was pretty big, but the ones coming from the roasted bulb were even bigger – and photo-worthy, even.

The roasted garlic gloves (the final count came to 4 or 5 for that bulb, wow) are now sitting in a small glass jar in the freezer, and will be perfect on the breads I’ve bought home this week.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a new page up on the Spicy Simmer, called What’s for Dinner? Here you can get an idea of what we’re planning to eat all week, as well as the CSA vegetables that we need to use cook with. It’s ever-changing, depending on work schedules, gathering with friends, and spontaneous trips to the grocery store. It’s also a great way to get a sneak peak as to some recipes that may be appearing on here.

QUESTION OF THE DAY/WEEK: I now have 1 and a half bunches of flat-leaf parsley. What to do, what to do? Any ideas?

Shared at Inherchucks’ CSA Round-up #77