I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy seasonal cooking. While we have many recipes that are in the rotation year round, I also have many that I make for a season or two each year. I think that’s why I enjoy the change of seasons so much, it’s like I get a little recipe refresh every few months as the season changes. Right now we are in the heart of soup season. I usually make a hearty soup or stew once a week during the fall and winter and have come to really enjoy it. While I enjoy lighter soups for lunch sometimes, my favorites are the ones that can be a meal all on their own or with a simple piece of cornbread or crusty sourdough bread on the side. You can also serve them with a salad, but my kids don’t tend to enjoy salad so I don’t often go that route. They love their veggies, so right now I don’t push them too much with the salad.

Once fall comes, one of the first recipes I reach for is chili. For some reason it just screams fall for me. This is my favorite chili recipe. It doesn’t take too long to come together and seems to have the right level of spice and flavor for everyone in my family. It can also be easily doctored up with some additional hot peppers or hot sauce if desired. (My husband often does this since I have toned down some of our spicy recipes to be more kid friendly). Until recently, I had always made this recipe with red and green bell pepper. Then this fall I still had some cubanelle peppers coming in from our garden so I used those in place of the green bell pepper. The flavor was incredible!! Now that’s what want to do all the time. I actually diced and froze some of those cubanelle peppers for exactly this recipe, and I can’t wait to use them to make this chili again soon. I also highly recommend making my homemade cornbread to go alongside it. That’s our favorite way to eat chili!


Course Soup


  • 1 1/3 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 3 cubanelle peppers (or 1 green bell pepper) seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 celery rib diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 fresh or dried chilis (I used Thai dragons from our garden) diced
  • 2 T fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped peppers and onions and saute until halfway cooked. Then add celery and garlic and cook a few minutes more until peppers and onions are soft. Be careful not to cook too long or the garlic will be bitter.
  • Add the ground turkey and brown, stirring often, adding salt and pepper.
  • Add parsley, cumin, chili powder and diced chilis and stir to coat, cooking for a minute. Then add the tomato sauce and stir. Lastly add the beans and their liquid.  Simmer about 45 minutes, covered. 


What to serve with it: We serve this topped with cheddar cheese and with our homemade cornbread on the side. 
Helping Hands: Kids are definitely able to help with chopping if you feel safe with that.  Bell pepper and celery are easy. Usually my son doesn’t like chopping onion because it makes his eyes water.  We have some great kid safe plastic knives that we use for chopping so that I feel safe letting him help.  It certainly depends on the age and personality of your child; do what you think is safe.
Make ahead options: I often chop the veggies for this early in the day so they are ready to go. This can also be easily made early afternoon and left on the stove either lightly simmering or even turned off for a bit to cool so it’s a good temperature to eat.  Soup always seems to take forever to be cool enough for my family to eat so I always make it early to allow time for cooling. 
This also freezes well, I often freeze half if I know we won’t eat it all, and now that our family is growing I might have to think about doubling the recipe so I still have half to freeze!

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