Making Turkey Chili In A Hurry

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - February 15, 2006
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The lovely Stefanie Smart is finally getting her wish: to perform on Manoa Valley Theatre’s stage. Guest director/choreographer John Rampage has cast her in the plum role of Desiree Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s celebrated musical A Little Night Music, which plays Feb. 22 -Mar. 12.

Stefanie, a soprano, is thrilled to be able to tackle the multi-faceted and challenging yet deceptively simple singing role, which includes the well-known Send in the Clowns.

A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, Stefanie is well-known for her Honolulu theatrical work. She has twice garnered the state’s highest honor for theatre, winning Po’okela Awards for her performances as Carrie in Carousel and Anna in The King and I. Some of Stefanie’s favorite moments on stage were in the Kahilu Theatre Production of Cactus Flower, where she shared the stage with Nanette Fabray and her grandfather Richard Smart.

Mr. Smart had a special place in his heart for MVT, having been a long-time season subscriber, contributor and building fund Bellringer who actively supported the growth of Manoa Valley Theatre. He performed on the MVT stage, and in 1989 he launched a special fund, the Richard Smart Artists Endowment Fund, which today helps to provide modest honorariums to MVT’s performers and artisans. This recipe is dedicated to Stefanie. For more information and tickets: 988-6131 or

On these cool Hawaii evenings, what could be better than a steaming bowl of delicious chili? You can make this with canned turkey, or purchase cooked turkey at the deli counter and have it cut into thick slices, ready to cube. Purchase canned kidney beans for convenience. I pour the beans into a colander and rinse with cold water to get off any excess salt.

The word bean is used to refer to both the pod and the edible seeds. Beans were cultivated more than 7,000 years ago by Indian tribes in Mexico and Peru, and there are over 100 varieties of beans differing in size, shape and nutritional value.

Kidney beans are both red and white and are kidney shaped. The red kidney bean is dark red and has a delicate flavor and texture. It readily absorbs flavors, and is used in simmered dishes such as chili, as it keeps its texture and shape well.

Kidney beans are a good source of protein and fiber and contain potassium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 minced cloves garlic
3 cups cubed cooked turkey(about 1 pound)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed well
1 can Niblets corn (rinsed and drained)
2 small chili peppers, diced (may omit for mild chili)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2- 8 ounce cans low-sodium tomato sauce (or no salt added)
3 cups cooked brown or white rice
Low fat shredded cheddar cheese to taste (optional)

In large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.

Add turkey, beans, corn, chili, cumin and broth. Heat on medium heat until hot, stirring a few times. Serve over rice and sprinkle with cheese if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Calories: 220
Fat: 6 grams
Cholesterol: 50 milligrams
Sodium: will depend on sauce used, added cheese, and beans used

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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