Weeknight Dinner Sinner

Confession: We were weeknight dinner sinners for what feels like the entire month of March. It was a blur of delivery and take-out from a steady rotation of the local restaurants around town. So last weekend, we finally made a real meal plan for the week and returned to normalcy – home-cooked meals and less reliance on our take-out menus stored at the top of the kitchen cabinet.


Easy weeknight dinners are essential for meal planning and I am always looking for simple recipes that come together quickly at the end of a long day at work. This Turkey Taco recipe from Michael Smith has been in my recipe book for a long time for that very reason: it has just a few ingredients so the effort is minimal, and after throwing everything into the pot, there’s ample time to relax while it simmers. We actually prefer to eat this as a chili because it is quite hearty and we can never really let it simmer long enough to let all the liquid evaporate! Served with couscous or corn chips for scooping up the chili, it is just delicious.

(Because we eat it as a chili, this also means that I skip the salsa from Smith’s recipe, although I tried making it once and it was fabulous. I highly recommend giving it a try if you are feeling especially industrious in the kitchen. Otherwise, some cilantro, sour cream, and grated cheese are perfectly fine as garnish with the chili.)

A quick note on the photos in this post – I doubled the recipe because I wanted to make enough to freeze for weeknights when we just don’t feel like cooking. So everything is doubled in my (super professional iPhone) photos, but the ingredient list below is for the regular serving size, which will feed four people.


3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

0.45 kg (1 pound) of ground turkey

1 can of San Marzano Italian tomatoes

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup of chili powder*

Salt and pepper

*Note: In my version of this recipe, I do a mix of basic chili powder and Taste of the Southwest from Gustus Vitae. As mentioned in the past, they have an amazing collection of gourmet spice blends and salts – check them out here!



  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add the onions and stir, cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir, cooking for about 1 minute.


  • Add the turkey and stir to mix with the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring until the turkey is browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.


  • Add the tomatoes, stirring and breaking up with a spoon.


  • Add the beans and chili powder, stirring to mix.


  • Bring everything to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer.


  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  • Simmer and stir occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.**

**Note: As mentioned above, we usually let this simmer for less time and eat it as a chili. The longer it simmers, the thicker it will become…it is a thin line between chili or taco but either way, it tastes great.


  • Serve with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, couscous, corn chips, or any preferred garnish.


Simple and tasty! I love this recipe because there are so few ingredients and it requires only a little effort to throw the meal together…just what I need on a weeknight. Enjoy!



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