Hoppin’ Johns

We love soup. There’s a man at our church who says that “soup is for the weak and feeble minded.” If that’s true, I don’t want to be strong of mind or body. Also, to him I say, “No soup for you!”

Our good friends, Kate and Gilbert, introduced us to this awesome soup that you can just throw together. It gets better the longer it cooks, but we usually can’t wait that long – either because it’s time to eat, or because we just can’t resist it.

We make this soup often for family and friends when they come over because it’s delicious and easy and it warms you to the core. However, it’s one of the recipes that I don’t have written down anywhere. The first couple of times I make it each cold season, I have to dig around through emails, chat records, Facebook messages, and texts from Kate to see where it was that I last asked her for the list of ingredients. Lately, my family has asked for the recipe a lot, so I thought I’d put the list of ingredients here so that it’s easy for me to access and I can stop bothering Kate each Fall.


  • 1 pound sausage (You could use a brand other than Tennessee Pride, but then I may not respect you as much. Just so you know.)
  • 1 onion, chopped, sautéed in sausage grease
  • 1 box Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice, prepared (You can use other brands, but Near East is the only one I’ve found that is gluten free. Unfortunately, the 90 second Uncle Ben’s microwave pouch has wheat in the ingredients.)
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can beef broth
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 2, 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (don’t drain!)
  • 2, 14.5 ounce cans of black eyed peas (Don’t drain! Also, we usually get the “southern style” ones that have been seasoned… and cooked in bacon fat…)
  • If you need a bit more saltiness (I find we usually don’t – the broths are usually plenty salty), use Liquid Aminos or Gluten Free Soy Sauce instead of salt
Hoppin' Johns: Loved by big people with big people bowls and little people with little people bowls alike.

Hoppin’ Johns: Loved by big people with big-people-bowls and little people with little-people-bowls alike. Also, those are corn muffins in our bowls. A must with Hoppin’ Johns. An absolute must.


Gluten-Free Boilermaker Turkey Chili

Chili’s just one of those things. Everyone has their own way of making it and everyone believes that their way is best. Sorry for your bad luck that you’re ALL wrong. This is the best.

This is roughly how my mom made chili. I say roughly because my mom doesn’t really cook from recipes – she just makes good food. I’ve made two main modifications from my mom’s original idea to make it a bit healthier and gluten free: I’ve substituted lean ground turkey for ground beef and corn-quinoa macaroni for regular macaroni. The result is a low fat, low calorie, high-protein, super-yummy chili!

About the “Boilermaker” in the title: According to my friends, putting pasta in chili is a very Indiana thing to do (which I don’t know if I buy since my mom is from Michigan…). However, I refuse to call his “Hoosier” chili or even “Indiana” chili for fear that the name would call to mind that awful party school down south. I got my Master’s at Purdue and while I’m not a Purdue athletics fan (Go Blue!), I do heartily believe that it is the better school of the two main public universities in my state. Ergo, Gluten-Free Boilermaker Turkey Chili.

A note about making soup: I don’t make small pots of soup. It’s just as easy to make a vat of soup as a small saucepan, so why not go for the gusto? Exactly. There’s no reason. You can freeze the extras of this soup, or just do what we do in our house: eat it everyday for lunch and supper, because it’s that good. This recipe makes 6 quarts; that’s 24, 1-cup (two ladel-fuls, one bowl-ful) servings, people. I don’t play around. You can have more than 1 cup at a time, but this is seriously filling.


  • 220 g chopped onions (3 small onions), diced
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 20 oz Jennie-O Lean (93/7) Ground Turkey
  • 16 oz no-salt added tomato juice (or roundabouts… I used home-canned stuff)
  • 16 oz no-salt added diced tomatoes (again, I used our home-canned tomatoes)
  • 32 oz no-salt added tomato sauce (once again, I … well, you get the idea)
  • 2, 15.5 ounce cans of Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 2, 15.5 ounce cans of Light Red Kidney Beans
  • 2, 15.5 ounce cans of Red Beans
  • Ancho Chili Powder (or regular old Chili Powder), Cumin, Tumeric, and Salt to taste
  • 8 oz Ancient Harvest Corn-Quinoa Gluten Free Elbow Pasta (I got mine at Whole Foods, but I recently saw that Meijer’s carrying it now! Yay!)


Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan until golden-brown. Meanwhile, in a large (at least 6 qt) soup pot, brown the turkey. If there is any grease left in the pan after hte turkey has browned, drain it. (I’ve yet to have any grease, in fact, there have been times when I’ve had to add a splash of olive oil to the pan!).

Add the sautéed onions to the soup pot along with the dice tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauce. Add the beans. (Do NOT drain the beans, for Pete’s sake! You’re making soup! You need liquid! Why dump nutrients and flavor down the drain just to water-down your soup later on?! [Rant over.])

nacho cheeseBefore you add the pasta, season the chili to taste. I just could not bring myself to write down amounts for this because it really is a season-as-you-taste kind of thing. For my part, I really like my chili to have a strong cumin flavor. I prefer the ancho chili powder to the regular chili powder (and not just because I make a Nacho Cheese-esque joke in my head every time I say it. It just ain’t yo chili powder.). When I make this and the Bug isn’t eating along with us, I also usually dice up some jalepeños (ribs, seeds, the works) and sauté them along with the onions for a little extra heat.

After you’ve got the flavor balanced the way you like, add the pasta and allow the chili to simmer for quite some time. If you’re familiar with soup math (you know, soup + time = better soup), then you know that you don’t need to be in a hurry here. Let the flavors mingle. So, so good. photo

Yes, that chili is pictured with a homemade dill pickle spear in it. I don’t know if that’s an Indiana thing (probably not, since I got it from my mom), but it’s the right thing to do.

Yield: 24, 1 cup servings

CALORIES 185; FAT 3g; PROTEIN 12g; CARB 31; SODIUM 308mg; SUGAR 5mg