Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole

Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am coming off a week-plus of cooking using only ingredients I have in my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator. I had no idea it had gotten so bad, but it had. Evidence: I called maintenance for my apartment building, complaining that my refrigerator was SO loud. I received the following written response: “We found freezer completely packed with food which is causing the compressor to work very hard to maintain the temperature.” There was no denying it. I think “completely packed” is a bit dramatic, but I had in fact been thinking it was time to dig in. Also, after a week, my freezer is still nowhere near empty.

Oh, and sorry, Dad, for the mustard that fell on you when you were helping to get something off the top shelf in my pantry. Happens.

The week has been fun, and I have felt a sense of accomplishment, re-discovering things I froze or bought for a rainy day – chicken, whole wheat crepes … Tazz even got a marrow bone out of the deal. I had a good deal of fresh ingredients as well – half a bunch of kale, Greek yogurt, an onion, milk, eggs, several ends of cheese. From my pantry, I worked my way through flour, cake flour, sugar, yeast, beans, tomato paste and sauce, and more.

I wasn’t extreme about it; when I had dinner plans or didn’t feel like packing up lunch for work, I ate out. My favorites made it to Instagram: Pizza {home-made dough and sauce}, Black Bean Burgers, Egg and Cheddar-Stuffed Crepes, Kale Caesar Salad {homemade dressing} with Garlic Chicken {I was thrilled with this – I have been craving kale caesar recently}, a healthy imitation Frosty, an Angel Food Cake, and … this.

Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole-4

Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole.

Yeah, you want me in your bunker.

Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole-3

This dish is an awesome kick-off for College Football season, when you want something warm and filling for your Saturday on the couch or to bring to a friend’s gathering. I could not believe how easy it was to throw together from a few ingredients I had on hand, and that you can easily keep around as well: a pound of ground turkey (mine was frozen), a jar of salsa (I used a low-sodium medium-strength), a can of black beans, a can of tomato sauce, and just two spices: cumin and chili powder. The cornbread can be any recipe you like, including a box or packaged mix. I used a new cornbread recipe with a very interesting ingredient: a full cup of non-fat Greek yogurt! I picked the recipe because I only had 1/4 cup of flour left and that’s what it called for, and the yogurt provided an extra health boost that breads don’t normally have.

To make this Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole recipe, you cook the turkey chili in a pot, and make the cornbread batter separately. One of the many beauties of this recipe is that you can make it in any size baking dish(es) you want. I used a smaller dutch oven, and had enough left over for another personal-sized casserole dish. I have a set of glass storageware with tight lids, and I plan to make a batch and bake it into individual-serving-sized containers to bring to work for lunch – no fuss! The chili should have more liquid in it than a normal chili, because the cornbread will soak up some of the liquid, and other liquid will boil out when you bake the two together in the oven. One last tip: If your cornbread ratio seems a little high to you, don’t use it all in the casserole; just bake the rest in a muffin tin.

Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole-2

Turkey Chili Cornbread Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Comfort food, here we come!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey {I use white meat}
  • 1 16 oz jar salsa {I use lower sodium, medium-heat}
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed {I use no added sodium}
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce {I use - you guessed it - no salt added}
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 t chili powder (feel free to mix and match different varieties if you have them}
  • Your favorite cornbread recipe {batter that would fill an 8" x 8" pan, like this recipe}
Instructions
  1. Brown the turkey in a pot, breaking it up as you go.
  2. When it's browned, add the salsa, black beans, and tomato sauce, stirring to heat it through. The chili should be loose and have some liquid to spare.
  3. When it starts to bubble, add the spices, and incorporate well. Turn off heat and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, mix your cornbread batter together.
  5. Heat the oven to 400.
  6. Place some of the cornbread batter at the bottom of one large or several small casserole dishes. Try to push it toward the edges.
  7. Fill the middle of the casserole dish(es) with the chili, pushing the batter to the outside if possible.
  8. With the remaining batter, dot the top of the chili. If you like, make a thin layer of cornbread batter that covers the chili.
  9. Bake at 400 until the cornbread is set. This may take about 30 min, but check on it after 20 and 25 minutes.
  10. Enjoy! This recipe is great straight out of the oven, or reheated for about 30 seconds per serving.

Adapted from a few recipes, including this one.

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