Turkey Chili Shells and Cheese

Image of cast iron skillet filled with turkey choli shells and cheese

I must admit, cast iron cooking is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to prepare a meal.  I bought my husband a set for Christmas last year and very fews days go by that we do not use at least one of the pans for a meal.

Plus, it was incredibly affordable!  Something I found nicely surprising since I had always been led to believe cast iron was expensive.  You can get the same set through the link below.


Not only is cast iron beautifully crafted and can last a lifetime, but it is great for making savory desserts, casserole dishes, and don't even get me started on steaks.  It has almost replaced my outdoor grill.  And we LOVE to grill, so that speaks mounds.

Because I meal plan each day's meals at the start of the week, I knew today would be a cast iron day, and I have been anxiously awaiting tonight's meal since Monday.  Not only is it warm and savory, but who doesn't love a cheesy meal?

A while back I came across a pin on Pinterest for a chili mac and cheese that looked absolutely heavenly.  However, when I went to click on the link it was a dead site.  So, I decided I would test my skills at making up my own, slightly healthier, version of the delicious comfort meal and put our cast iron to use as well.

Though I wish I would have had a few more ingredients (green bell peppers, jalapeños), this dish turned out fantastically.  I added my own level of spice through some peppers and hot chili beans, so feel free to tone it down if the heat is not your thing.  But, perhaps the best aspect of this meal came from the cast iron itself.  After baking in the oven it added a slight crunch to the noodles without making them test dried out.  Though this would turn out great in a regular skillet on the stove, I love the little extra deliciousness from the cast iron.

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups whole grain shells
  • 1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can Tuner's Hot Chili Beans
  • 1 package hot chili seasoning
  • 3 dried chili peppers 
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs EVOO
  • 1.5 cups of shredded cheese (any style you prefers)
  • 2 cups water


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Finely dice yellow onion and sauté with minced garlic in EVOO until tender.
3. Add ground turkey and cook thoroughly.
4. While turkey is cooking, finely grind up dried peppers and combine with hot chili seasoning.  

Note: I used my Nutri Ninja to pulverize the peppers.  

5. Once turkey is thoroughly cooked, mix in seasoning, tomatoes, beans, water and shells.  Bring to a boil.
6. Gently boil for about 5-7 minutes, until shells begin to soften.
7. Fold in half of the cheese and place entire skillet into the preheated oven.
8. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
9. Add remaining cheese to the top of the dish and broil for about 2 minutes.

10. Stir and enjoy!


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