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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not-So-Texas Chili

*Tip of the Day- Sneak veggies in where you may not normally find them.

I absolutely love chili on a bitter winter 'eve. And, according to an informal survey, 2 out of every 2 people asked love the toppings just as much as the chili itself! (OK, was me and my fiance). Sour cream, mounds of cheese, what's not to love? But how do you get away with eating this beloved food and not feel guilty? Simple. When you make chili yourself, you control the amount of fat and flavor that goes into it. For a truly memorable and unique chili, try my recipe for this veggie filled chili.

Not-So-Texas Chili

1/2 lb. ground buffalo or grass-fed beef (buffalo is lower in saturated fat and calories)
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 summer squash or zucchini

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted are the best for chili, if you can find them)
2 dried chipotle peppers (if you can't find dried, substitute with 1/2 can of chipotle in adobo)
1 jalepeno
1 bell pepper (I like the red or orange)
1/2 bunch kale, spinach, or other dark green
1 c. frozen organic corn
1 14 oz. can pinto beans
1 14 oz. can red kidney beans
1-2 c. chicken stock (Kitchen Basics is the best brand I have found- look for no MSG)
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1Tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa powder (I know. This sounds weird, but trust me. Think Mexican Mole)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. hot sauce

In stock pot, brown the ground beef or buffalo. Strain off excess fat. Add onions, garlic, and peppers/chilis. Add salt & pepper. Saute until translucent. Add ground spices and cocoa. Add the squash and saute for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add canned tomatoes, stock, and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes on low. After reduced slightly, add beans, dark greens, and frozen corn. Stir slowly until greens are fully wilted. Let cook for about 5 minutes before serving.

Spectacular toppings:

*A low-fat alternative to sour cream: take 1/2 c. of low-fat, plain yogurt and put in a strainer lined with paper towel for about 5 minutes. This will remove the liquid and leave you with a thickened yogurt. Mix in lime zest, cumin, or chopped cilantro. You will never miss the sour cream.

*Black olives, sliced


*Cilantro leaves

*Pepper jack cheese

*Organic tortilla chips
(try the blue or red variety for added color)

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