Healthy Fall Comfort Food

Turkey Quinoa Chili
Turkey Quinoa Chili

Fall comfort food: one new “try on” and one original recipe

Fall brings thoughts of comfort food.  A quick Wikipedia  search for the origin of the phrase “comfort food” yields this information: The term comfort food has been traced back at least to 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story: “Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’—food associated with the security of childhood, like mother’s poached egg or famous chicken soup.”  Sounds right on target!  My first thought always goes to the years of enjoying my Gram’s homemade chicken pie as a child.

Fall is such a great time to snuggle up warm and enjoy some comfort food – and it can be healthy!

This time I tried two new recipes:

Turkey Quinoa Slow Cooker Chili courtesy of: Well Plated

And my own original recipe, a healthier version of Seafood Chowder.

Let’s start with the Chili…


Ground turkey

Black beans

Canned tomatoes


Red peppers


Olive oil

Sweet potatoes



Chili powder

Red pepper

Tricolor pepper



Baby spinach


I browned the ground turkey with a touch of olive oil, minced garlic, onion and red peppers until the meat was cooked through and the vegetables were tender, I added some baby spinach just to give the recipe a little bit of my own touch.  Then in the spirit of fall, chose a Blue Moon Pumpkin Beer to add, allowing the combination to simmer for about 10 minutes.

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Poured mixture into my crockpot and added: black beans, canned tomatoes with green chilies, red pepper, paprika, fresh ground tricolor pepper, chili powder, cubed raw sweet potatoes, a cup of hot salsa, and let it all simmer overnight.  The quinoa???  Well not being a huge fan of it I subconsciously forgot to put it in before leaving the chili to cook all night!!!!  Realized my “error” in the morning and added it in and simmered on low for a few more hours so the quinoa would cook adequately.  I have to say, the quinoa added nice texture and flavor and glad I did not completely “forget” it!!!!!!


Served the final product topped with fresh chopped cilantro.  This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Turkey Quinoa Chili
Turkey Quinoa Chili

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Ease of recipe 4, does require some chopping and prep work, but then you leave it, forget about it, and let it simmer away.  The house smelled delicious in the morning after the chili cooked all night.

Taste of recipe 5, very tasty, had it for lunch with family, very well received! Even by my 7 year old nephew!!!

Presentation 4, pretty in the bowl and easy serving!!!!!

My own original healthier Seafood Chowder

I decided, not being a huge fan of fish (unless, I am ashamed to say, it is fried or blackened to dryness!!!!) that the seafood in my chowder would be shrimp and clams.  Shrimp was an easy supermarket find, the clams proved to be a challenge!  This is Cape Cod, with a fish market around every corner, but not a sea clam whole or minced to be found!!!

For a fleeting moment I thought about donning my Grampie’s waders and going to dig some myself, but then remembered the one time I tried that!  It was many moons ago and off I went to the flats with my 4 little kids all under 10; we raked and dug, raked and dug, and all the trip yielded was one sad looking sea clam and 4 soaking wet, sandy, shivering children!!!!!  Sometimes I still think I find yet another grain of sand in the bath tub from the afternoon of showering off the freezing, salty, sandy quartet!

Having no choice, and not wanting to change my plan, I lowered my standards to canned clams, however this recipe will be rerun soon in the future with those coveted fresh sea clams!


Chopped large raw shrimp

Minced and whole (regrettably) canned clams

Fat free evaporated milk


Olive Oil

Red Peppers


Baby red potatoes


Fresh chopped thyme

Turkey bacon

Low sodium chicken stock

First I chopped the turkey bacon into squares and sautéed in olive oil and garlic until slightly crispy.


Placed bacon mixture in my crockpot and added onions, red peppers, clams, shrimp, cubed red potatoes, fresh thyme, tarragon, and chicken stock and let simmer for about an hour.


Seafood Chowder Ingredients
Seafood Chowder Ingredients

Added 2 cans of fat free evaporated milk and left to simmer overnight.  Great taste, despite the canned clam dilemma!  I was very happy with the way this recipe turned out and will be trying again, next time definitely with fresh clams and maybe a few oysters and mussels too!

Healthier Seafood Chowder
Healthier Seafood Chowder

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Ease of recipe 4, fortunately I nixed diggings the clams or it would have been reduced to a 1!!! Just a little chopping and prep, but then again, walk away and forget about it and let it simmer away.

Taste 4, again the fresh clams probably would have pushed it to a 5, but it was very tasty and filling.  Again shared it for lunch with family and both my 7 and 10 year old nephews gobbled it up!

Presentation 3, not really pretty, but the taste makes up for the appearance!!!!

Happy Fall!!!  Next time perhaps a Halloween recipe theme!!!!!

Aunnie H