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Easy Summer Dinner: Spaghetti with Quick Turkey Chili

This weekend, I unplugged from Instagram, Facebook, everything, from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon while my little family went camping to a lake. It got really antsy. For me, at first, it felt like I was completely cut off from the world.

Until I realized how dead wrong my thinking had been. I wasn't cut off from the world without my phone for the weekend. I was even closer with my world.

I didn't need to give an internet social media play-by-play of packing up the car, our walk around the lake, the hilarious marshmallow & hot dog roasting, sleeping in the tent, hiking around the area, and everything else happening around us when we were soaking in that beautiful mountain air. I didn't have to see what everyone else was doing, and I didn't have to share with everyone else what we were doing. It was just us. 

It reminded me of a movie we recently watched, and a conversation that has since stuck with me. O'Connell had been waiting so quietly on the mountainside while trying to capture a rare photo of a snow tiger. The tiger came into camera view, and the moment was so sublime, so beautiful, that he decided to not tarnish it by snapping the camera. He internalized the moment, left the camera empty, and decided that was good enough for him. 

Walter: Why didn't you take the picture? 

O'Connell: Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it. 

Walter: Stay in it?

O'Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here." 

So this weekend, I just stayed right there, with my family. I locked my phone in the car. I kept those beautiful family moments and memories we created as a family to ourselves. I've tried to remember this as my family and I spend time together this summer. It's easy to get lost in social media, and this is one step forward I've taken, by taking that step away from the phone. Everything else can wait, my family and those moments can't, and shouldn't have to. 

P.S. This is kind of a food blog, too. I guess. Hah. We made this dish a bazillion times last summer, and almost forgot how amazing it was when our summer menu came into play this year. It's super-easy, super-hearty, and has a really funky noodle vs. chili thing going on. If I know we're going to be out for a while, I'll make the turkey chili in advance, and toss the sauce into my mini slow cooker. That way all I need to do after a long day of playing hard at the pool is bring some noodles to al dente. 

Spaghetti with Quick Turkey Chili 
makes about 4 servings

Kosher Salt
4 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T tomato paste
2 T chili powder
1 lb ground turkey
2 C low-sodium chicken broth
14oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 T ketchup
hot sauce, to taste
8oz spaghetti
shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for topping

1. In a large pot, fill about 3/4 full with salted water. Bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add scallion whites and garlic. Cook, stirring until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the tomato paste and chili powder and cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Add the turkey and stir, breaking up the meat until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.
4. Add the chicken broth, bean, and ketchup. Bring to a simmer and cook until chili is slightly thickened, but still soupy, about 15 minutes. If it's still thin, add a little cornstarch to your liking (not in the ingredients, but helpful). Stir in scallion greens and hot sauce.
5. Meanwhile, add pasta to the boiling water and cook as directions show, then drain. Divide among the plates or bowls, and top with the chili, cheese and sour cream.

Recipe adapted from: the food network.


  1. I love these together! And how awesome that you were able to unplug, I need to do that more often!


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