Quick & Easy Camping Chili

Hello, friends! We’ve made it to Thursday and we finally awoke to some sunshine this morning. I’d say that’s a pretty good start to our day considering the cold, grey, rainy skies we’ve had all week.

As you know, we’re off camping this weekend in Saratoga Springs (woohoo!). Last night I did some groceries and started some meal prep! Yes, I meal prepped for our camping trip! It really does make a difference, and though I’m fully prepared to eat s’mores and hot dogs galore, it’ll be nice to have some fresh, healthy snack options on the side. Hooray for balance! I also bought a ton of camping supplies so that we’re all set and ready to go. By the way, we’ve split up food items between our group of friends, so we’re in charge of breakfast and chili and then everyone is bringing their own drinks and snacks!

Here’s what I purchased last night, though we do plan on stopping at the local Target for beverages, breakfast eggs/sausage, and a few more snack items/anything I may have forgotten.


  • Condiments (I found an awesome sale on condiments: ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, Frank’s hot sauce and a steak marinade all for $4.99!)
  • Paper plates, plastic cups, napkins, cutlery, garbage bags, tin foil
  • Plastic containers
  • Tin lasagna dishes
  • Bug spray…LOTS OF BUG SPRAY (sorry for yelling, but I’m basically the bug bite queen. I’m really hoping the bugs aren’t too bad this year)


  • Lightly salted peanuts
  • Graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows–hellooooo, s’mores
  • Watermelon and pineapple fruit salad (chopped and ready to go), blueberries (rinsed and ready to go)
  • Baby carrots
  • Chili ingredients (listed below)
  • Bagels (whole wheat and everything)
  • Water
  • Powerade

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but we’ll be getting a few more things on our way to the campsite. Plus, you must always save room for the beer.

camping2 camping4 blues watermelon and pineapple

Beer Chili

So last year Frank had the genius idea of making chili to freeze and then thaw once we get there. Well, it was a hit, so we’re doing it again and I’m here today to give you the recipe!

Though we’re bringing our chili camping, this is a recipe that I often make on Sunday’s, which can easily last for a few nights. I love making big batches, freezing half, and eating the other half for 2 or 3 nights during the week. Some of you have emailed me about simple recipes that can be heated on the go, and this is one that I highly recommend. It’s made with lean ground turkey and though this version has beer, you can swap out the beer for low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth. Also keep in mind that I made a lot since it’s for 6 people, so if you’re only cooking for one or two, go ahead and 1/2 the recipe. This also made enough for a small batch to keep frozen at home.


chili ingredients

4 lbs. lean ground turkey

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 green pepper, diced

1 can of beer (any kind you’d like, or 1 cup of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth)

1 can of red kidney beans

1 can of cannellini beans

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 9 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. chilli powder

1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. cajun seasoning

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste (you’ll continue to salt and pepper at each step)


1. In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil, garlic and onions until cooked through (about 3 minutes). During this process, sprinkle some salt and pepper to get the flavors going.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 4

2. Add the ground turkey and cook until the turkey is no longer pink. Add some additional salt and pepper.


3. Add the green pepper and beer, stir until well combined.

post beer

4. Add all of the seasonings (chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, cajun, paprika, salt and pepper).


5. The turkey mixture should be slightly red from the seasonings. At this point, add your canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Really mix well so the tomato paste is evenly spread throughout.

tomatoes simmering

6. Add the beans and bring the entire mixture to a boil.


7. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour (or more!). During this time, your chili should thicken and all of the spices should really melt into the turkey. The more it simmers, the more flavors it will bring.

8. Remove from the heat, let it rest and cool. Place in plastic containers that can be sealed and stored in the freezer. Our chili is in the freezer now and will be ready to go by the time we leave tomorrow. We plan on having it straight up or Frank’s favorite, on top of a hot dog! If you’re having it the night of, enjoy it with all of your favorite toppings.

chilli complete

*Healthy Topping Tips

  • Instead of sour cream, use plain greek yogurt
  • Instead of cheddar cheese, use low-fat mozzarella
  • Instead of salty tortilla chips, top your chili with thick slices of avocado
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or Cholula Hot Sauce are our favorite spicy additions
  • And my favorite…delicious and refreshing chopped cilantro

Bon appétit my friends!

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