If chili sounds like a cold weather food, you haven’t tried Amy Atkinson’s recipe.

The Clarks Summit resident’s Turkey Chili is a light take on the classic comfort food, packed with protein and veggies. The dish also earned Atkinson a $50 grocery gift card.
The Abingtons woman and her boyfriend, Zack, like to keep their meals low-carb and high-protein. Atkinson found the recipe online but made changes to suit her diet, including swapping in ground turkey instead of ground beef.
Between working and pursuing a master’s degree from University of Scranton, plus taking additional classes at Marywood University, Atkinson usually is pressed for time. But she makes Turkey Chili in a slow-cooker, so home cooks can simply throw ingredients into the pot and let it go while running errands or at work or school.
“It’s a light, easy, low-carb option that fills you up but doesn’t give you that too-full, sluggish feeling,” Atkinson said. “It’s a staple in our dinners.”
Atkinson uses a lean ground turkey and ditches beans in favor of more vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions and diced tomatoes. She also loads the dish with Italian seasoning to give it a kick without making it too spicy.

Pile on the toppings

When serving the chili, Atkinson doesn’t shy away from toppings, usually adding a scoop of sour cream, some guacamole, shredded cheese and a drizzle of sriracha sauce — a sweet heat chili sauce — to give the chili extra oomph. It’s all about making the recipe your own, Atkinson said.
“I love sriracha, and I’ll put it on anything,” she said with a laugh. “You can use whatever you want, though. You can top it off with what you want, and you can swap out (or) add in beans if that’s what you like.”
The chili tasted light yet hearty and didn’t weigh Local Flavor down on a hot, humid day. The spices gave the chili just the right kick, and the veggies made the dish colorful and bursting with flavor. The addition of toppings — including sriracha — made for the perfect touch.
Atkinson always is on the lookout for high-protein, low-carb meals. Quick and easy recipes are golden, too, as she’s constantly on the go. Her other kitchen creations include different types of grilled chicken; Veggie Pizza, which has a pastry crust with a ranch sauce and is topped with almost a dozen kinds of vegetables; Cheeseburger Salad, made with lean beef patties with cheese cut up over lettuce, tomato, onion and crumbled bacon; Shrimp Scampi; and crab cakes, clams and other kinds of seafood thanks to Atkinson’s North Carolina roots.
“We make all different kinds of dinners and always have a salad with every meal,” she said. “You can feel the difference when you’re eating lighter and it can still taste good.”


Amy Atkinson’s Turkey Chili

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds ground turkey (cooked and drained)
1 small onion, chopped
3 bell peppers, seeded and diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups beef stock or stock of (preference
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 to 8 turns freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Add everything to the slow cooker and stir together. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Top with sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole and sriracha.