It’s Tuesday, it’s cold, and you’re tired when you hear “What’s for dinner?!”  That’s when you remember that you never made it to the grocery store today and haven’t even thought about dinner.  There are some things you just always know are in the fridge or freezer and it’s top of mind when they are out.  If you’re like me, unfortunately those are the basic items that so many of your meals are made with.

Oh well, what’s a busy woman (or man) to do?  Again, if you’re like me, you’re not about to go out in the cold just to get something for tonight – that’s not very efficient.  And you’re dern sure not about to go grocery shopping.  PLEASE.

You need something healthy because that’s how you get down, easy because that’s how you get down, and only takes a few ingredients because that’s all you’ve got.

Try this hearty healthy 30-minute chili!

30-minute chili with avocado


  1. 1 lb ground turkey (any kind will do)
  2. 1 pkg beef sausage (again any kind will do, but beef or turkey with no casing is better for you.)
  3. 2 handfuls of lentils (any kind of beans will work; lentils are my choice because they cook fast and canned isn’t as great for you)
  4. veg – specifically tomatoes (1 can of paste is fine), 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 jalapeño (some like it hot)
  5. spices – 1T salt, 1t pepper, 1T chili powder, 1T cumin

That’s literally 5 things – okay not exactly since I packed so many items into the veggies and spices, but you get the point.  And seriously, if you don’t have most of #4 or #5 on hand, you really need to go grocery shopping… AND consider buying some things in bulk.  I’m just saying that there are some things you should never be without.

[Tweet “Seriously, there are some things you should never be without.”]

Did I mention that this 30-minute chili is a 1 pot wonder?  Well, this chili is a 1 pot wonder.  Quick and easy cooking and clean up, even better if you can convince someone else to do it!

The Process:

  1. In a heavy pot, saute the onions and garlic in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. 2 min.
  2. Add the ground meat and brown it.  Don’t break it up too much, you’re making 30-minute chili NOT quick spaghetti.  Also, it doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this stage, just browned. 3 min. Season it.
  3. While that’s working, cut your sausage into about 1/2″ pieces.  Toss it in and cook for a couple of minutes.  Season it.  By now your ground meat should be cooked through and you can taste test.  You be the judge.
  4. Add the tomatoes (or paste) and enough hot water to cover everything up. Stir to combine.  Season it.
  5. Add a couple of handfuls of lentils, pop the top on the pot, and simmer on low for the next 20 minutes or so. Taste. Season. Taste. Repeat as needed.

Done!  If you were counting, that should have been right around 30 minutes.  (And for shame!  You should just take my word for it!)

If you want you could put on a pot of Basmati rice while your chili is simmering.  Or not.  The chili is great with or without “filler” but I’m in love with Basmati rice so any excuse to have some and I’m in!

And oh my goodness… if you had the forethought to make some cornbread… LAWD help the children!  That is some GOOD southern Texas eatin’ right there!

Couple of little notes/hints:

  • Season and taste your food in stages as you go along.  The flavor will be SO much better than if you just do it all at the end.  Start out with a little and end up with as much as you want/need.
  • If you feel scared tasting along the way because your meat may not be fully cooked, DON’T DO IT. The spice amounts I listed are a good starting point.  Do it in step 2, then wait until the end to finish seasoning to taste.
  • Just an FYI/reminder – you always need more salt than you think.
  • Don’t skip the cumin.  It’ll give you this great smokey flavor that you just can’t get otherwise.


  • I have 1 child who swears he does not like carrots.  Mix them into the ground meat when it’s browning, and your’s will never know.  Mine doesn’t.  I also do this with meatballs, by the way.
  • Top your chili with avocado or cheese or both.  Creamy goodness on top of meaty goodness… Mmmm.  Even some salsa would be great piled on top.
  • Speaking of avocado, cheese, and salsa… can’t you just taste the killer leftover chili tacos this is gonna make?!  Taco bake?  Add an egg and… breakfast burritos?!

I digress…. Try this 30-minute chili – weeknight or weekend, your family will never know you made it because that’s what you had on hand!

After you try it, let me know how it worked out, what you changed, what your peeps thought of it…


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