Hearty & Healthy Chili

There’s nothing better than a big bowl of chili and some corn bread.  A few weeks ago I started having chili cravings, so I vowed to find a really great recipe and get crackin.  I hadn’t found a good one yet when we were invited to dinner at our friends’ house – and guess what?  They made chili!  It was an old recipe from a close family friend and it made its way home with me.

When I was making the chili grocery list, I decided I was going to try reducing the fat and salt to make it a tad more heart healthy without losing any of that amazing original flavor.  I substituted ground turkey and ground chicken for 2/3 of the ground beef, sprung for low sodium diced tomatoes and sauce, and drained the beans.  The chili turned out AMAZING.  It didn’t have as much kick straight out of the pot, but the next day after the meats had absorbed all the flavors and spices, it was to die for!

If you’ve been looking for a comfort food that won’t give you a guilt trip, try this!  I’m not a fan of healthy versions of dishes that stray so far from their original counterparts that they don’t end up satisfying your true craving.  This chili definitely passes the craving test.

It’s also perfect for make-ahead meals.  I doubled the entire batch and froze half in 2 freezer bags that we can thaw later when we need something quick.  The recipe is optimized for doubling so if you’ve been wanting to stock up on a healthy freezer meal, this is the recipe for you!

Tip for freezing chilis, soups & sauces:  Pour them into large heavy duty freezer bags (about 1/3 full), seal the bags and lay them flat in a 9×12 baking dish to freeze.  Once they’re frozen, you can remove them from the dish and stack them in the freezer.  This is a huge space saver and makes for much easier thawing!

Hearty & Healthy Chili
Adapted from an original recipe by Sylvia Harrison
Yields 12 servings (278 calories per serving)

You’re saving 110 calories per serving by substituting turkey, chicken and extra lean beef for 80/20 ground beef!

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
.5 lb. ground chicken
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 (14.5 oz.) cans no added salt diced tomatoes
2 (8 oz.) cans low sodium tomato sauce
1 1/2 (14.8 oz.) cans kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 (14.8 oz.) cans chili beans (drained and rinsed)
2-3 tbsp. chili powder (2 for mild, 3 for spicy)
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar

Brown the meats in a large pot over high heat.

Add the onion and garlic to the pot and reduce heat to medium, cooking until the onions are soft.

Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, beans and spices and bring to a boil.

Add sugar and reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

You can eat the chili right away, but the flavors are best if you wait until the next day!

Do you have a favorite “healthy version” of a recipe that tastes just as good as the original?

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