Camper’s Turkey Chili with Wisconsin Farmer’s Cheese


by Alice of


Sometimes, there are people you meet and immediately you know you’re going to be great friends. This is what happened when I met my friend Jen a few years ago. We met at a mutual friend’s kids’ birthday party and ended up being the last two families to leave because we were talking for so long.

Jen is a huge foodie and used to be a personal chef. She was my cooking class buddy, Seattle Restaurant Week buddy and anything food related event buddy. We also frequented all the great places to eat in Seattle. Every time I would go to Jen’s house and watch her cook, I would learn something new. And Jen’s an awesome mother too!

Jen takes her kids camping every summer. Like, real camping, in tents and cooking your food by the campfire (or in some cases a mini burner or portable gas stove). She has everything down to a science and knows exactly how to pack the car and the best campgrounds to go to.

Since moving from Seattle to Madison, we’ve met up with Jen and her family. Last summer we went to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and this year we’re planning a camping trip!


It’s funny; my husband was quite the outdoorsman before we got married. He has all the gear, tents, equipment, proper clothing and everything…  and we have yet to go on a camping trip. But now that we have kids who love the outdoors, we’re doing it! And we live in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, so we’re in the perfect place to go!

I’m leaving all the camping equipment prep and stuff to my husband but the food…  the food is all my department. It’s really quite easy and just takes some planning and writing down a list of things to bring. From basic food supplies to pots and pans (depending on how long your camping trip is) to cups, utensils, knives, cutting boards and hand towels.

And since most camping grounds have grills in the fire pits, all you need is a great fire and something delicious to heat up!


Enter my fabulous turkey chili. Now, my family loves meat. Whenever I make chili, it’s the ground beef or the ground turkey that they gobble up first. We also love our beans, so there are three kinds of beans in here (black beans, kidney beans and my kids’ favorite, garbanzo beans). This chili is super easy to make and reheats well.

Now, this chili wouldn’t be fabulous without something buttery and creamy to go on top.


And this Wisconsin farmer’s cheese does it!

Farmer’s cheese originated on farms throughout the world as a way to use milk left over after skimming the cream for butter. Two main styles evolved – a fresh cheese similar to cottage cheese and a semi-soft version cured for a shorter time. Wisconsin cheese makers produce the latter variety, which is firm enough for cubing or shredding. No standards of identity exist for farmer’s cheese, which means cheeses can vary greatly from one cheese maker to another. Styles can vary from soft fresh to semi-soft. Wisconsin’s style is similar to havarti’s texture but typically lower in fat with a buttery, slightly acidic flavor and a smooth supple composition.

You guys. This cheese. Amazing!! So good, so creamy, so dreamy and absolutely perfect with this chili! Pile it on and enjoy!!


Camper’s Turkey Chili with Wisconsin Farmer’s Cheese
By Alice of Hip Foodie Mom
Note: This recipe should be prepared at home, packed in an airtight container and then reheated and served within 2 to 3 days.Servings: 6-8



1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 to 3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, optional

2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup water

1/2 to 1 pound cooked ground turkey

1 to 2 cups (4 to 8 ounces) Wisconsin farmer’s cheese, shredded

Fresh green onions, diced, for garnish


Cooking Instructions:

In Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.


Add carrots, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies begin to get tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.


Add crushed tomatoes, beans, water and cooked ground turkey. Simmer until slightly thickened, at least 30-35 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.


Remove from heat. Serve with shredded Wisconsin farmer’s cheese and diced green onions.


If packing for a camping trip, remove from stove, cool completely and pack in airtight container. When ready to reheat, pour turkey chili into cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Heat over fire (or use a mini burner or portable butane stove) until heated through. Top with shredded Wisconsin farmer’s cheese and diced green onions.