Starving Student: Crockpot chili for the cold weather

By: Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-chief  

I moved to Maryland from Connecticut when I was in first grade. I hardly even remember anything about the house my family lived in up until that point, but the cold winters still run through my veins, and I’m reminded of that each time I go back to Connecticut to visit my family.

I still consider myself a New Englander, and winter is my favorite season, so I thrive on weekends like this past one. Cold temperatures are always preferred in my book over being in the 80s, and snowfall always makes for fun running conditions.

Plus, a little wind never hurt anyone, right?

In this cold weather, chili is always my go-to dinner. It never fails to warm me up, and it’s an incredibly versatile dish.

As long as you have the basic ingredients, there’s 100 different ways to make chili and 100 different ways to season it.

I love spicy food, so I created a chili that’s healthy by replacing all of the red meat with turkey to cut down on the fat and calories, and incorporates plenty of vegetables. Using canned chili for a microwave meal is fine for a college student living in a dorm, but making everything from scratch cuts out most of the sodium, sugar and preservatives.

Also, I haven’t talked about this yet in Starving Student, but the crock pot is an amazing thing.

Have class at 11? Start your dinner in the crock pot at 10:30, turn it to medium and come home at 5 with dinner ready. It’s the best.

Feel free to tweak this recipe to fit your taste pallet. Some people hate spicy food, so you can simply remove the sausage and go with straight-up ground turkey. Or just remove some of the seasonings entirely.

The preparation of this can be a little time-consuming, but you’ll be pleased with the crock pot cooking method and how you’ll feel after you eat this.


Spicy turkey crockpot chili


  • 1 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 4 hot turkey sausage links
  • 1 ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tbl. garlic powder
  • 4 tbl. chili powder
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. light beer
  • 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup kidney beans, canned
  • 1 cup pinto beans, canned
  • Organic blue tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Cut the sausage links into bite-sized pieces
  2. Cook turkey, sausage, onion and pepper in the olive oil in a large pot or skillet
  3. In a crock pot, add the meat mixture with the remainder of the ingredients
  4. Cook in a crock pot on medium, stirring as often as needed, for 4 or so hours (or on high for two hours)
  5. Serve in bowls with blue tortilla chips, top with other things as desired (sour cream, cheese)

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