There was a glorious chill to the air this morning, giving us all a nice break from the heat of the summer. Aside from pulling out the jackets and the long pants, this weather shift also signaled the season of the slow cooker.
Of course, a Sunday filled with football and a fall breeze called for none other than chili! If you are like most people, this drums up memories of cheesy, heavy, delicious, meaty chili - maybe on top of some chips, or a baked potato, or piled high in a big bowl with a spoon fit for Hulk. So how can we work chili into our healthy routines?
I start out with using ground chicken (turkey will do, or you can rinse the ground beef you use as well). To add even more flavor, I add in a base of beef Bouillon while browning the chicken on the stove-top. Then I put the chicken, beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings into the slow cooker, and turn it on. Before it I close the lid, I like to add more vegetables! In today's version, I added diced carrots to cook with the chili while it simmered on high for 4 hours. During the last hour, I pulled out all the stops and added a bag of frozen cut-leaf spinach**. There is no denying this chili is as healthy as it is delicious!
**You can get creative here! Add chopped kale, mustard or turnip greens, green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes - whatever you want!
1- 12 oz package lean ground chicken
1 heaping Tbsp Beef Bouillon base* (I use Better Than Bouillon **note, this brand is not low in sodium)
2- 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I actually use one petite and one regular to vary the texture)
1- 15 oz can of each:
- black beans
- pinto beans
- kidney beans
- cannellini beans
1/2 small can of tomato paste
2 large carrots, cubed
1- 12 oz package frozen cut-leaf spinach
2 heaping Tbsp Chili powder
1 heaping Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp granulated sugar*
Brown chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Add beef Bouillon base.
Add chicken and all ingredients EXCEPT the frozen cut-leaf spinach to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. During the last hour of cooking, add the frozen spinach. Serve with plain Greek yogurt, shredded 2% or whole milk cheddar cheese, or enjoy by itself! After the initial delicious indulgence, I plan on spooning some of this over some crunchy salad greens for a nice 'taco salad'.
* Why do I use these ingredients, especially when added sodium and sugar are not healthy? In moderation, the addition of the Beef Bouillon base can deepen the flavor of the chili. The sugar also counteracts the acidic taste of the canned tomatoes! These ingredients are therefore taste-improving only and can be omitted.
Recipe makes approx. 7 - 2 cup servings
Nutrition info per serving:
Calories - 352
Protein - 25 g
Carbs - 53 g
dietary fiber - 20 g
sugar - 10 g
Fat - 6 g
Sodium - 837 mg