Lean Mean Game Day Chili for a Crowd

January 12, 2011Katie

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the printable recipe and as always, you can click on the Play button below to watch my Rise and Shine segment below for a live demo!!


We love chili at our house on game days.  I love to cook up a pot, put out the fixings, and leave it on the counter all day long in a crock pot to keep warm.  If I make it ahead of time, I can relax, watch the game and there are no worries with being a part of the festivities in the living room.

Last night the college National Championship was on and our youth small group was over, so I got to work.  Let me show you how I cooked this chili that won Mr. Wonderful’s heart over and had him kissing me afterwards.

Which is always a good thing in my book.

What no one knew was, it was still very much on my eating-right diet regime.  No one knew they were eating healthy lean and mean chili.

Well, until now that is.

Because I just announced it on TV and a blog for all the world to see..but it’s okay..we really SHOULD try to eat healther!


(Crickets chirping).

By the way, this recipe feeds an army of 16 or more healthy appetites, so cut it in half if you want a smaller feeding!

I used four pounds of ground turkey meat.

Yes I know it says 3 on the package but I also added a one pound package that I didn’t photograph.

If you’re really freaked out about using turkey meat (but you should really try it!), get this.

Look on the package for 96/4.  The “4” denotes the percentage of fat in the meat so if you buy 80/20, the percentage of fat is 20%.  That means if you’re eating a hamburger just picture 1/4 of it as a big blob of fat.

Depressing huh?

If you’re cooking a burger, 4% would probably make a pretty dry and tasteless burger, but for things like chili or soups, it’ll be less-greasy and you won’t notice that you’re eating lean meat at all.  Test it on your family and see if they notice.

Mine never has.

Whichever you use, put it into a large pot (preferably nonstick due to the lack of fat) and cook it over medium-low heat.  I use a potato masher to grind mine pretty fine while I cook it.  Actually I usually recruit Mr. Wonderful cuz he gets the meat really fine and nice.

It’s those biceps I tell ya…they are responsible for us meeting in the gym 6 years ago.

Cook your ground turkey or beef until it is all cooked-through or browned.

Then remove it to a colander and rinse it with the hottest water that comes out of your tap.

This will rinse off any clinging hot fat that might remain, even on lean meat.  Also, if there is grease in your pot?  Now is the time to rinse that as well or at least wipe it out good with a paper towel.

Keep your meat out of the pot and add in one tablespoon of olive oil (a much healthier fat). Chop up two medium onions and two poblano peppers as tiny as you can.

Toss them into the pot with the olive oil and start sauteing my friends.

Saute these around on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onions get opaque and the poblanos are nice and soft.

Then add your meat back into the pot.

Also add in 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (28 oz).

Also crack open a can of Chipotle and Adobo peppers (found in the Mexican aisle at your grocery store).  These are smoked jalapeno peppers in a lovely sort of pickled-BBQ sauce and they’re spicy! They’ll add a lovely hint of smoke to your chili as well as a little heat.

Remove three of these babies with a fork, and just set to chopping them up pretty fine.

Scoop them up with your knife and add them right into your pot.

Also add in 3 tablespoons of the sauce from the can and all of the following spices – 1/4 cup of chili powder, 2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper (or 1/2, depending on how brave you are), 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of oregano, and 1 tablespoon of salt (or to taste).

Also add in 4 cups of low-sodium beef broth, or you could just add water.

Mix all of this up and keep it over medium heat until it begins to bubble, then adjust your heat to just let it simmer for a good 30 minutes.

An hour is even better, to let the spices marry and get happy together. Or if you have leftovers? By the next day – YUM!

Now up next – do you know what Masa flour is?

Sometimes it is called Masa de Harina (when dried) but it is basically finely ground corn flour and is used in Mexican recipes like fresh tortillas or tamales.  You can find it in the Mexican section of your grocery store.

And it is a wonderful thing to add to chili.  It will thicken it up and just add a special something.

I add in about 1/4 cup of Masa flour.

Stir this up again and then if you like, add in four (14 oz) cans of chili beans and their sauce.

I say if you like because if you live in our close neighboring Texas, you’d have to warm these up in a separate pot and give your guests the option to add their own, but here in Oklahoma, especially when serving 20 teenagers on a game night, we like to stretch our buck and bump up the volume!

So stir in your beans.

Once the beans have had time to heat through, you can transfer your chili to a crockpot where it will keep for hours on low.

Or you can serve it up immediately.  Top it with these garnishes if you choose – lowfat or nonfat cheese and sour cream, chopped green onions and cilantro and if you’re Mr. Wonderful….Fritos, which kind of blows the whole “lean” concept, but adds a nice layer of crunch (try baked Tostitos for a healthy option).

I’m not a big fan of nonfat cheese so I keep mine pretty simple and the onions and herbs make it delicious.

This is a hearty healthy chili that is big on taste but low on calories and fat.  Try it if you’re eating healthy like me.

You won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!

Katie’s Printable Recipe – Lean Mean Chili


  • Diane Rath

    January 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Katie, I'm going to try your chili - sounds yummy! Do you really add 1/4 CUP of chili powder?
    1. dishinanddishes

      January 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Di - yes -but this is a huge recipe! It fed our entire small group and we had leftovers.
  • Nicholas Scaffetta

    January 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Cindy made your chili tonight and let me tell you it is what I call "killer chili". AWESOME. I like the bite it has and the spices are just right. She made 1/2 of the recipe and it was just right for the two of us with enough left over for frito chili pies tomorrow. Thanks Katie.
  • Sandi Stach

    January 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I made your chili during football playoffs. EVERYONE LOVED IT! I had 20 adults and this made enough with a bowl or two left. (I also served chicken wings, veggie platter, chips and dips) I used 1/2 the cayenne pepper. Not everyone can handle the heat. It had a nice kick but not too much for the guests that prefer less hot. Definitely, this is my new chili recipe!
    1. dishinanddishes

      January 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Sandi -YAY it's always good to have happy men (and women and children) at football game parties!

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