Nightmare Before Christmas Chili

From my friends’ Facebook statuses, you’d think New Yorkers had never seen snow before. But I’ll admit, seeing enormous, fluffy puffs of snow floating down in October was pretty exciting. So I decided to take some time off from studying for midterms and make myself a hearty dinner to fight off the bone-chilling cold.

It was snowing. I wanted chili. It was Halloween. I wanted pumpkin. I wanted pumpkin turkey chili. Once I had the idea, it took hold of me, and I ended up walking 12 blocks (the grocery store near my apartment is useless) through the nasty, slushy weather to buy canned pumpkin just so I could make this one, specific recipe. Crazy? Perhaps. But I will say, there is nothing like sitting down to a meal and eating exactly what you’ve been craving.

And there’s nothing like this chili, at least, not that I’ve tasted. The addition of pumpkin adds some unexpected sweetness to this chili, and because it’s made with turkey, it’s pleasantly filling rather than, well…whatever you want to call that feeling when you have to roll over to the couch and just lie there for an hour digesting. Post-Thanksgivingish, maybe. But that’s another holiday, entirely.


-2 tsp vegetable oil

-1 large onion, chopped

-1 bell pepper, chopped

-Minced garlic

-1 lb ground turkey

-1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chili peppers

-1 (14.5 oz) can red kidney beans

-1 (14.5 oz) can pumpkin puree

-A healthy heaping of: cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne

-Grated cheddar cheese

Step 1: In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat 1 tsp vegetable oil. Saute garlic, onions, and bell peppers until tender, about 5-10 minutes.

Step 2: Make room in the center of the skillet, then add another tsp of oil. Add ground turkey and brown for about 10-12 minutes.

(The turkey should look a little bit darker than this. Don’t worry about overcooking it! Crispy turkey is ok, salmonella is not!)

Step 3: Add cans of everything: tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin. Then add your spices. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the chili is nice and thick.

Step 4: Top with grated cheese and enjoy!

And don’t forget the perfect complement for this snowy day dinner: Swiss Miss Marshmallow Lover’s hot cocoa. Yum.


2 thoughts on “Nightmare Before Christmas Chili

  1. ” But I will say, there is nothing like sitting down to a meal and eating exactly what you’ve been craving.” <–so true! That is my favorite perk of cooking! I will not get into the fact that most of the time I am eating what I craved a week ago because that's what's in my fridge… #studentlyfe.

    Also SO jealous of your hot chocolate and festive mug! 😀

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