Taco Chili

Remember all winter long when you were jealous of the fact that I was sitting in my apartment, no need to turn the heat on, while you were shoveling fifty-five feet of snow off your driveway? Remember when I was *so excited* at the four inches we managed to accumulate, and remember how that so-called blizzard shut down our whole city meanwhile you still had to trek to work everyday in your snow suit? Well, in case you do remember that and were thinking to yourself, “Self, maybe Atlanta wouldn’t be such a bad place to move.” Let me tell you the downside; let me give you the chance to relish in knowing that your months-long suffering spared you from one fate: POLLEN.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know your allergies are or will be bothering you. I’m sure this is not something contained in the Southeastern United States. I get that. But let me ask you this, when you go to your window and look out, is everything you see covered in an inch-thick layer of yellow dust? Do you see swirls of pollen dust blowing across the ground? And if you were to go outside, would you have to carry a towel with you in order to “dust off” anything you might be coming into contact with or else risk being covered in greenish grit? If you answered no, then I’m almost certain you live nowhere near me because as far as my eye can see, we are in a yellow-covered wonderland. Apparently a pollen count of 120 or higher is considered “extremely high”; last week our pollen count was near 6000. No, those aren’t typos. Ick.

This yellow mess always coincides with the very early days of spring when temperatures are perfect for opening the windows and letting the fresh air in. Well, I don’t recommend that. Unless you want your house coated in pollen on the inside? My parents made this mistake once. Never again. So, as for me, I had to turn the air conditioning on – managed to wait until April 1 – and will just be sitting in my apartment pretending it’s still winter. If you, like me, are content to hold onto the last bit of cold weather left, or if you unfortunately are still experiencing cold temperatures, this recipe is for you. Chili is the perfect comfort food on a chilly night, right?

This recipe was actually called soup, but I just didn’t feel right giving it that title. Maybe, if we’re going to stretch things and use made up Rachel Ray words, we could call it a stoup, but it is not a soup. I consider it a chili. Call it whatever you want, but one thing I’m sure we will agree on is this – it’s good. Very good. It’s originally a Paula Deen recipe which tells you everything you need to know, doesn’t it? I found the recipe on For the love of cooking so between Pam’s modifications and mine, it might not much resemble The Queen of Butter’s version, so feel free to doctor it up to suit your tastes. It’s not overwhelmingly “taco” or Mexican flavored; I just thought it was a really good go-to recipe for chili. I’m not sure what the ranch dressing mix really contributed, so I might skip it next time and try using homemade taco seasoning instead of a store-bought package, but this way was incredibly easy to throw together. I’m sure this also would have turned out well in the CrockPot. I topped mine with a little scallion, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Even Ryan, a previous bean-hater, enjoyed it.

Taco Chili

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
14 oz canned pinto beans
14 oz canned kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
4 oz canned green chili peppers
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 packet ranch dressing mix

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat then add the ground beef. Add taco seasoning and mix into the ground turkey, making sure to break it up into crumbles. Add the diced onion and garlic then mix thoroughly and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, remaining spices, and ranch dressing packet. Mix well then cover and simmer on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and re-season with sea salt or pepper if needed.

Source: Paula Deen by way of For the love of cooking
4 servings | 7 POINTS


April 13, 2010. recipes.


  1. Rachel in NC replied:

    Ugh, the pollen in NC is also ridiculous. Time to get out the bottle of Zyrtec!

    This recipe is very similar to the version of WW Taco Soup that I have – it’s always been a favorite of mine. I use lean ground beef, though, because I’m not a huge fan of ground turkey.

  2. Jason replied:

    Great article. Thanks

  3. Karen replied:

    My father in South Carolina just reported that he washed the yellow off his car and quit taking Claritin, so I guess pollen season is officially over there. It is a shame that just as it is about to get stinkin’ hot it is OK to open the windows!

    I love WW taco soup too! Now that I’m not cooking with meat I should retool it – I totally forgot about that recipe.

  4. Karen replied:

    Will do, although I don’t know when I will get to it. Also, I don’t know what I’m going to do about the packet of ranch dressing mix that is part of the recipe! I’d never use that. I’ll have to fiddle with ingredients and see.

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