Friday, October 15, 2010

Insanely Healthy Chili

So, as some of you may know, I have been watching my calories and my nutrition levels, trying to lose some weight and get healthier.  AND, fall is here in full swing, which means fall foods, which are some of my favorite foods of all!  Chili is probably my favorite one-dish meal, no matter what time of year, but chili can often be very high in sodium and calories, depending on how you make it, and what you top it with.

Pretty?  No.  Healthy?  YES!

Well, after playing around with some recipe analyzers online, I came up with the perfect chili recipe that is absolutely packed with great vitamins and minerals, while keeping the calories and sodium very low.  This chili provides more than 100% of your Vitamin A and Vitamin C needs for the day, as well as nearly 40% of each protein and fiber.  Plus, it doesn't taste like cardboard!

Notice the large serving size... you may not eat that much!

I didn't take any method shots of this one, mostly because chili is a very, very ugly thing, and I don't have the photography skills to make it look any better, but you'll have to trust me that this chili is amazing.  Okay, it might not be the best chili I've ever had (made with sirloin tips and topped with a mountain of shredded cheddar and sour cream), but as far as "health food" goes, it's up there.

1 lb ground turkey (I used 85/15, but you can use breast meat if you want to cut even more calories)
2 yellow onions
2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cubed
1/2 a medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large can diced tomatoes (by "large" I mean bigger than a Rotel-sized can)
2 cups chicken stock OR water OR lager (keeping in mind that lager ups the calories)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1 tsp cayenne chili powder
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (SERIOUSLY spicy. Omit these if you can't take the heat)
1 cup edamame (I used frozen)
1 cup corn (again, frozen)
1/2 cup black beans
8 cloves garlic, finely minced

In a large stock pot, brown the turkey until cooked through, remove from pot and drain.
Add onions and a little bit of cooking oil to the pot and cook til soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add spices and garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes and liquid (stock, water, or beer) and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and return turkey to the pot, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add sweet potatoes and butternut squash and simmer for another 30-45 minutes, covered, or until sweet potatoes are tender.  I discovered this by accident, but you'll know it's right when the squash seems to have disappeared from the pot.  It cooks faster than the sweet potatoes, and will melt right in with the liquid, thickening the chili.
Add frozen veg and beans and crank up the heat to medium-high and let bubble away for another 5-10 minutes, uncovered, until everything is nice and hot and the chili has thickened.

That's it!  It was crazy spicy, so I added a dollop of fat-free sour cream (you could also use yogurt or ranch dressing) to calm it down a bit.  A small bowl is more than enough, as all the veggies make it super filling.  I haven't measured, but this recipe assumes 8 servings, though I may get even more out of it.  The nutrition facts are applicable to a 2-cup serving, so you might get closer to 10-12 servings.  I will be eating chili all week long... welcome, fall!

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