Confetti Chili and Cornbread Muffins

There are many reasons to hate the cold weather this time of year. A steaming bowl of chili and a sweet cornbread muffin are two reasons to be content at winter’s arrival. With a big glass of milk. 99% of the time I drink water with my meals. But milk is a perfect complement to chili and cornbread.

Growing up, Mom’s chili was always a treat – ground beef, tomatoes, beans – simple and delicious. But this is a little bit different version – it’s about as healthy (and optionally can easily be vegetarian) as chili can get. It’s full of colorful, delicious vegetables. We won’t hold it against the cornbread muffins for not being as healthy. They’re so delicious and crumbly and sweet.

I love Famous Dave’s cornbread muffins but I can’t always have ribs and coleslaw and all the other barbecue-y goodness that entails *homer-simpson-drool*. These muffins are appropriately sweet without being overpowering. They’re crumbly and soft and delicious straight out of the oven. Leftovers won’t last long.

The ingredient lists look long but these recipes are actually very simple – don’t be intimidated.

The chili recipe is inspired from Recipe Girl’s Confetti Chili and the cornbread muffins are adapted from All Recipes.

Confetti Chili, makes about 7 – 1 1/4 cup servings

Printable Recipe

  • 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided (start with 1 tbsp., adding more as necessary)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange/red bell pepper, chopped (you can use 2 green peppers if you want but the orange/red have a sweetness about them that really adds to the recipe)
  • 2 tbsp. cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. coriander, ground
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, ground (add more/less depending on your heat preferences)
  • 1 – 20 oz. package lean ground turkey
  • 2 – 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste, no salt added
  • 1 – 4 oz. can chopped green chiles (optional – I add cayenne instead because I prefer an overall ‘heat’ to little, unexpected bites of heat)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can low-sodium black beans
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can low-sodium pinto beans (you can use kidney in place of these or the black beans if you prefer – I never find a low-sodium version of kidney beans though)
  • 1 – 10-12 oz. package frozen corn (about 2 – 2 2/3 cups corn, depending on your love of corn)

1. In a large pot or a wide, deep pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers; stir to coat with oil. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional oil if necessary, pouring slowly to the side of your pot and then stirring in.


2. Add cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, coriander, and cayenne and stir to coat veggies. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.


3. Push veggies to the sides of the pot. Add ground turkey to the middle, breaking up with a spoon. Increase temp to medium-high and stir meat and veggies together. Stir occasionally until meat is cooked, about 10 minutes. It may be hard to tell when it’s cooked with all of the spices in the pot.


4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chiles (if using), water, and oregano. Stir until well combined and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally and cook for about 30 minutes.


5. Stir in the beans and frozen corn. Continue cooking, partially covered, for about 15-20 minutes at least. You can let the chili simmer on low for a while longer to let the flavors mix, but I am never patient enough for this.


Recipe makes about 9-10 cups. As written, 1 1/4 cup serving is about 350 calories, 1 1/2 cups about 415 calories, and 1 cup about 275 calories.

Sweet Cornbread, makes 12 muffins

Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use regular whole wheat as well)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (you can sub in all-purpose for the whole wheat if you prefer)
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (you can use vegetable if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. honey

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. Sometimes paper liners work best…


2. Combine the flours, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk together and set aside.


3. In a medium bowl, or as I prefer, in a 2-cup measuring glass, measure 1 cup milk, add 1/3 cup oil. Add the beaten egg, vanilla, and honey. Whisk until well combined.


4. Make a slight well in the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until no lumps remain. And this is why everyone should have a good, fine-edged silicone spatula. ❤


5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill each of the muffin cups approx. 3/4 full. You’ll have big, domed cornbread muffins.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. (My stove bakes them perfectly at 13 minutes but you’ll want to check at 12.)

One muffin is about 165 calories.

If you make this, let me know what you think. It’s one of my favorite “cold weather” dinners and I’ve been making it for a few years, tweaking as I go.

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