Sunday, August 30, 2015

Denise Swanson's Can’t-Believe-It’s-Healthy Chili

Join us in welcoming our guest blogger, best-selling author Denise Swanson!

Now that both my sleuth Skye and I are eating healthier, I’ve been on the hunt for tasty meals that don’t break the bad-for-you budget. My incentive to eat better is because I’ve suddenly developed some food sensitivities. Skye’s has a lot to do on with what she and her new husband did on their honeymoon—or maybe before (wink).

Skye and I agree that because we both have good reasons to do so, we’ll change our eating habits. But we won’t give up taste. Neither of us are trying to get into a size four or even a fourteen. We are happy with ourselves and our only goal is to be healthy.

With both our eating requirements in mind, I’m avoiding sugar and gluten and Skye’s doctor telling her to eat foods high in fiber and rich in iron, I found the perfect recipe.

Turkey Chili


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
12 ounces of ground turkey
1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
   and green chilies
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons freshly ground
   black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried ground sage
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups unsalted vegetable
   or chicken stock
3 (15-ounce) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted kidney beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
2 cups chopped kale (I use a whole bag)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.

Add onion and next 3 ingredients (through sausage); sauté 4 minutes. 

Add tomato and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper).

Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half (about 1 minute).

Stir in stock. Combine 2 cans cannellini beans and 1 can kidney beans in a medium bowl; mash with a potato masher. Add bean mixture and remaining beans to pan.

Bring to a simmer; cook 5 minutes.

Add kale; cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with oregano and serve with a crusty bread—mine is gluten free.

--New York Times Bestselling author Denise Swanson writes the Scumble River and Devereaux's Dime store mystery series and the Change of Heart romance series. Her eighteenth Scumble River release, Murder of an Open Book, debuts September 1 and in it her sleuth, the recently married Skye Denison-Boyd, has a bun in the oven.

New York Times Bestselling author Denise Swanson, who was a practicing school psychologist for twenty-two years, writes the Scumble River and Devereaux's Dime store mystery series and the Change of Heart romance series, beginning with Good Girl Overboard. Her eighteenth Scumble River release, Murder of an Open Book, debuts September 1 and in it her sleuth, the recently married Skye Denison-Boyd, has a bun in the oven. Her books all feature small-town heroines with lots of heart.

Denise’s books have been finalists for the Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, RT Magazine's Career Achievement, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She has won the Reviewers Choice Award and was a BookSense 76 Top Pick. She lives in Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr, and their cool black cat Boomerang.

For more information, please check her website. or find Denise on Facebook at!/DeniseSwansonAuthor or follow her on twitter at DeniseSwansonAuthor

A nasty faculty feud leaves one Scumble River teacher belly-up. . . .

Her honeymoon may have been less than relaxing, but Skye Boyd née Denison is still high on marital bliss with her new husband, Wally. The fact that their family is about to get bigger is even more exciting, even if Skye is dealing with morning sickness—and trying to hide the news from her ever-meddling mother, May. 

But Skye quickly comes crashing down from cloud nine when the body of one of her coworkers, science teacher and volleyball coach Blair Hucksford, is found in the school swimming pool. The troublesome trainer was on the bad side of almost everyone on staff and many of the girls on her team, leaving Skye to sort through a huge roster of suspects. Now she must figure out which wronged party was mad enough to kill, and quickly—before someone else in town gets bumped off.


  1. I totally understand how hard it is to find recipes to fit special diets. My boyfriend and I are both lactose intolerant. He's also allergic to sulfites. When I had a family picnic this summer I also had one person who's very allergic to nuts and someone else who can't have gluten or corn. I don't know how but I actually managed to serve a meal by making almost everything from scratch.

    1. Scratch is almos the only option for truly healthy eating.

  2. That is definitely a recipe that I must try.

    1. Hope you enjoy it. It is super easy and really yummy!

  3. Welcome, Denise! This chili looks delish and I bet it's a keeper.



    1. Thanks, MJ! We have it a couple of times a month.

  4. Welcome, Denise! Those food sensitivities do complicate things. I think a lot of people are eating healthier, though. This sounds delicious!

  5. Was that turkey sausage or turkey?

    1. I've used both ground turkey and turkey sausage. Depends what I have on hand.

  6. Looks delicious.
    You say to add ingredients through the sausage, but there isn't any sausage in the ingredients.
    Also, interesting to have chili without any chili powder.
    Love the idea of adding kale. It is a great addition to almost every pot of goodies.

    1. Oops! I think the original recipe called for turkey sausage, but I usually use ground turkey. Either works. I add chili powder to taste, but the original recipe didn't call for it.

  7. I'm answering for Denise, who's currently at her first signing for her new book! I'm going to guess that she meant ground turkey rather than sausage (which usually has other flavorings added), because she does add other herbs and spice in the recipe. She can correct me later if I'm wrong!

    1. Thanks, Sheila. Just home from my signing. Nice standing room only crowd.

    2. That's always nice to see! Happy book launch!

  8. Welcome, Denise! I am lovin' this recipe, especially with the beautiful combo of spices, the wine, and the chopped kale. My beloved Aunt Mary put kale in her chicken and pastina soup, and I just loved it. Never thought to put it in chili. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us today, and very happy congrats on the release of MURDER OF AN OPEN BOOK! ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo! We love the kale. I tried this with spinach and it wasn't as good. Can you tell I'm a recipe tweaker? ;)