I had such high aspirations for all the blogging I would do in these last lingering weeks before my little baby W arrives*. "What else would I have to do?", I thought. I envisioned golden mornings at my new breakfast table, typing away, and perhaps the occasional entry after my daily afternoon nap. As it happens, however, I have found myself to be one of two things lately: INCREDIBLY distracted and TREMENDOUSLY exhausted. Despite the plans I make for each day, after one big grocery shopping trip or drive down to Palo Alto for yoga, I'm done for the day. I inevitably eat a big lunch and collapse on the couch for a lengthy snooze. Upon awaking, it takes approximately five to ten minutes to successfully get off the couch, because apparently having one's 9-months-pregnant body in the same position for any extended length of time results in a feeling akin to being run over by a truck. You would think once I got that accomplished I might decide to do a bit of blogging, but instead, that's the moment when I manage to get a burst of energy, or enthusiasm, rather, for doing something productive. For the past week, this has resulted in a crazy cooking spree, the fruits of which have been a diverse variety of frozen meals for those days when all our family help has left and I'm responsible for taking care of my little baby and cooking dinner for SH and I.
This has been my plan all along, and it was something I talked about eagerly for months, telling everyone of my lofty goals for installing a chest freezer in my garage that I would be sure to stock completely full of dinners before baby arrives. Of course, that hasn't exactly turned out as planned. I've got a surprising amount of room in my freezer, which is a good thing, because as you might imagine, there is nothing waiting for me in the garage at the moment, besides a huge post-remodel mess and lots of dismantled cardboard boxes.
Thankfully, my cooking has gone exceptionally well, despite the fact that in an effort to reduce meal boredom later in the summer, I've cooked separate, non-freezer friendly meals for SH and I each night, and they've been served at an alarmingly late hour. In addition to lasagna, bolognese, my favorite turkey noodle casserole, and a delicious chicken dish that I'm definitely going to write about at some point, I froze several batches of my own original turkey chili.
Don't get me wrong, my humble little recipe is not exceptional in any way, and could easily be modified or altered. I'm sure there are hundreds of similar recipes out there, but I can't help but feel a little proud of the fact that I finally produced something on my own that is, I must say, extremely tasty and satisfying. It's also very easy, and quite healthy. So, without further adieu, I present my turkey chili:
Turkey Chili, a Katie original
1 lb ground turkey (I've taken to buying packages and keeping them in the freezer specifically for this dish)
2-3 zucchini, sliced into thirds length-wise and then chopped into half-inch size pieces
1 squash, given the same treatment as the zucchini (if your zucchini or squash are on the smallish side, feel free to add another)
1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalepeno, finely chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons red chili powder (I get mine special-ordered from New Mexico, in both red and green varieties, but you can easily find it in the spice aisle)
2 cans Rotel (or any brand of canned diced tomatoes and green chiles-in fact, the ones I find at Safeway and Trader Joe's are actually bigger than the cans of Rotel, which are more like 12 oz cans as opposed to 14)
1 28 oz can of hominy
Cooked rice for serving
Grated pepper jack or monterey jack cheese (optional)
Diced avocado spritzed with lime juice (optional)
1. In a medium-sized saute pan or large pot, brown the turkey in about 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks with a wooden spoon.
2. Shift the turkey over to one side of the pan and add the chopped onion. Cook until slightly translucent, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If you're adding a jalepeno to the chili, mix in with the onion.
3. Mix the onion and cooked turkey together, then add the squash and zucchini. Cook together for approximately five minutes, stirring frequently, just until the zucchini and squash soften a bit.
4. Add chili powder and season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the diced tomatoes and green chiles into the turkey mixture. Fill one can with water and add this as well. If you would prefer a stew-like texture, stop here, but if you want your chili to be more soup-like, add two cans of water (Bonus: your cans are now conveniently clean enough to toss into the recycling bin!)
6. Allow the chili to begin to bubble, then add the entire can of hominy. Reduce heat to low and maintain a simmer until the hominy has completely heated through. The flavors will deepen a bit if you simmer for a half hour or so, but you could easily eat the chili once it's at a uniform temperature.
7. Serve with rice and top with grated cheese and avocados.
My SH and I are usually able to eat this for a few days, and I was able to divide this version of the recipe up into two freezer bags. I was hugely proud of myself as I flattened the bags carefully and placed them into the freezer.
I must acknowledge that I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be at home in these last few weeks. So many expectant moms don't have that opportunity, and I know that I am VERY blessed. No matter how thrilling and exciting a time it is, I can definitely say with confidence that the last bit of pregnancy is physically exhausting-you are simply not yourself and not able to do everything you used to do. I tip my hat to those of us who are working until the last day or running around after other small children! And I definitely must thank my SH, for working so hard to provide for us so that I can be at home.
*No, that is NOT a clue to our baby's name! It's simply a notation for our last name. We haven't chosen it yet, though we have a short list.