Is It Getting Chili in Here?!
by CAROL CORLEY
Sometimes easy in the kitchen can be healthiest. Like chili — it may take a lot of time and use a lot of ingredients, but overall, it can be easy. Put a bunch of ingredients you love in a pot, cook for the prescribed time, then enjoy and reap the benefits.
One of chili’s main ingredients — capsaicin — is considered a powerful antioxidant. Chili is also full of protein, fiber, vitamins, iron, and is generally low in sugar. For more than 6,000 years, people have used spicy chili peppers to bring interest to their food and even prevent food from spoiling in the days before refrigeration.
If your stomach isn’t brave enough for chili, it can even be made with a host of other ingredients that are not spicy — like peanut butter, chocolate, and beans, among others. As for meats, you can use ground beef, ground bison, sausage, or even turkey and chicken. Plus, if you choose lean meats, your chili can even be low in fat.
Smoky Peanut Butter Chili
(Adapted from tasteofhome.com)
Lean ground beef, 3 pounds
Peanut butter, 2/3 cup creamy
Green pepper, onion, peeled carrot, 1 large of each, chopped
Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Tomato sauce, 30 oz
Tomatoes, 28-30 oz canned, diced, with basil, oregano, undrained
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Salt and smoked paprika to taste
Green chiles, 8 oz chopped, or to taste
Ancho chile pepper, 1 tablespoon ground, or to taste
Smoked cheddar cheese shredded, sprinkling on top when served
Peanuts, chopped, sprinkling on top when served
Cook the ground beef in batches using a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Crumble the beef as it cooks for about 7-10 minutes. Remove beef with a slotted spoon and drain. Then add green pepper, onion and peeled carrot and cook for another 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another minute. Put all, including beef, in a slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients except toppings (cheese and peanuts), and cook covered on low for about 4 hours, until vegetables are to the desired doneness.
Mexican Chocolate Chili
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
Beef, can be round or sirloin, 1 pound ground
Kidney beans, black beans, whole-kernel corn, 15-oz can each, rinsed and drained
Chocolate chips, 1/2 cup semi-sweet
Tomatoes with garlic, 2 14.5-oz cans including liquid
Onion, 1 cup chopped
Water, 1 cup hot
Chili powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons or to taste
Cumin, 1-2 teaspoons ground, according to taste
Oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried
Olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Combine ground beef and onion in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, using a bit of olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Place in a slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Cook on high until it begins to bubble, about 15-20 minutes, then reduce to low heat and cook another 2 hours until thick.
White Chicken Chili
(Adapted from cookingclassy.com)
Chicken, 3 cups shredded, pre-cooked
Chicken broth, 2 14.5-oz cans
Onion, 1 medium, diced
Garlic cloves, 2 minced
Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Green chilis, 1 7 oz can diced, if to taste
Cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon, if to taste
Cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoon
Paprika, dried oregano, ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon each
Salt and pepper to taste
Corn, fresh or frozen, 1-1/2 cup
Cannellini beans, 30 oz canned
Light cream cheese, 1 8-oz package cut into small cubes
Lime juice, 1-1/4 tablespoon fresh
Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons for cooking, 1 teaspoon for serving
Monterey Jack cheese for serving
Avocado slices as desired for serving
Tortilla chips as desired for serving
In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion in olive oil for about 4 minutes, add garlic for a few seconds, then add broth and flavorings except cilantro. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Drain and rinse beans then take 1 cup and place in a food processor with 1/3-cup of the cooked broth. Puree until smooth and add to soup, along with remainder of whole beans, with light cream cheese and corn. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Finally, stir in pre-cooked chicken, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Heat until the chicken is to temperature.
Serve with Monterey Jack cheese, dried cilantro, avocado slices, and tortilla chips, if desired.
Easy Slow-Cooker Chili
(Adapted from thespruceeats.com)
Ground beef, 1 pound
Onions, 2 chopped
Red kidney beans, 2 15-oz cans, rinsed and drained
Water, 1 cup
Diced tomatoes with green chiles, 3 14-oz cans
Chili powder, 3/4 tablespoon or as desired
Cornstarch for thickening, if desired
Using a large skillet, brown then drain ground beef. Add to the crock pot with remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Can thicken with cornstarch, if desired.