Many, many years ago, when my big grown boys were just little itty bitty cutie pies, people started figuring out maybe we should back off the red meat now and then. Recipes calling for ground turkey began to circulate like crazy. This Chili Cornbread Bake is one of the very first recipes I made using ground turkey and it has stood the test of time.
What goes together better than chili and cornbread? Red wine and chocolate, okay, maybe that, but chili and cornbread is mui delicioso. We are going to make it real easy by using a packaged mix for our cornbread layer and we’ll bake it together with the chili in the same pan, casserole style. Yes, there is cheese involved, but we get to feel a little less guilty because we are using lean ground turkey.
Ready? Let’s get cookin’!
For the grocery list – Lean ground turkey, onion, celery, garlic (pretend it’s there), chili powder, cumin, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, tomato sauce, chili beans with chili gravy, cannellini beans, 2 packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend, light sour cream (optional). You will also need some milk and eggs to prepare the cornbread. See the package for instructions specific to the brand you have. I highly recommend that you have some tortilla chips on hand.
Spray a large pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, celery, and onion. Cook, breaking up the turkey with the spoon, until meat is thoroughly cooked.
Add chili powder, cumin, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Ground turkey is quite bland on it’s own so it really needs a lot of spice to wake it up. Wake up!!!
Add the tomato sauce, chili beans with chili gravy (undrained), and cannellini beans (drained).
Let the mixture simmer while you prepare the cornbread.
Prepare cornbread according to the package directions.
Now grab a deep baking dish. I have this nice, deep 13 x 9 pan. If your 13 x 9 pan is not deep like this one, I recommend using a slightly larger pan. A lasagna pan would work nicely. Coat your pan of choice with some cooking spray and spread the cornbread mixture into the pan.
Now grab that chili you just made and spoon it over the unbaked cornbread layer.
Ready for the oven. Bake it at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or till it appears set in the center and the edges of the cornbread are golden brown.
Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, just till cheese is melted.
Hot from the oven. Top it with a little light sour cream and serve it with tortilla chips for scooping up the chili.
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Chili Cornbread Bake
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans with chili gravy
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans or small white beans, drained
- 2 (8.5 ounce) packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
- Milk and eggs (see corn muffin mix for amounts)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend
- Light sour cream (optional)
- Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Cook turkey, celery and onion until turkey, breaking up the turkey with a spoon. Cook till turkey is no longer pink. Add garlic, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, and crushed red pepper. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and beans. Turn heat down to low and allow to simmer while preparing cornbread.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a deep 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions and pour batter into prepared baking dish. Remove chili mixture from heat and spoon over the batter. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes. Edges of cornbread should be nicely browned and center should appear to be set. Carefully remove dish from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake 5-10 minutes more, until cheese is melted.
- Serve with tortilla chips and top with sour cream if desired.