Unfortunately, this realization comes at the time when I need to start planning and creating recipes that lean more towards comfort food. Fall means warm, hearty meals. Casseroles, tailgate food, baked goods, etc. But don’t worry, I don’t plan on making you all suffer with me;) If I post a recipe that is “light”, I promise, it will be every bit as good as its fattier counterpart.
Just this last weekend, Chris asked me to make something good to eat while he watched football. I knew he was expecting some sort of tailgate delight such as nachos, French fries, burgers, etc. I ended up making him my “light” chili. I also baked up some sweet potato fries, and I topped the fries with the chili. Chris loved it, and he never even realized it was healthy. But I knew.
Today, I will show you how to make my light chili. This is a recipe I created years ago when I was doing “Weight Watchers” to lose baby weight. It is yummy and super filling. It is filled with lots ‘o veggies and lean turkey breast. The best thing about it is that you get to eat a ton of it for not a lot of calories. This recipe makes a ton, but don’t worry, it keeps in the freezer.
There are a lot of ingredients in this chili, but it isn’t difficult to make. You basically just dump all of the stuff in the pot and let it simmer together.
I use extra lean turkey breast for the meat in this chili. Extra lean means it is made from boneless, skinless turkey breasts. It can be flavorless, but don’t worry….we will jazz it up.
I also used Gourmet Rooster Whiskey Apple BBQ sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, garlic, corn, a bell pepper, zucchini, carrots, red onion and a packet of chili seasoning. My body almost goes into shock when I eat this because this is a ton of veggies for me. Waaaaay more than my body expects.
I start by browning the turkey in a large soup pot, with no oil. I use cooking spray instead. Once you get the turkey in the pot, leave it alone for a couple of minutes. Let it develop a nice brown crust. This will add flavor to a meat that can otherwise taste like cardboard.
Once the meat is cooked, I take it out and set it aside. I put in a bowl….I didn’t just chuck it on the counter.
Then, I throw all the veggies in…the onion, garlic (crushed), carrots, zucchini and bell pepper. I let this sauté and soften for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
See how I have everything diced up in about the same size? This takes only a couple of minutes….even less when you buy pre-chopped onion like I did;) I am the Queen of laziness…..that probably also contributes to my immense proportions.
Once the veggies are softened and the turkey has been stirred back in, I added in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, BBQ sauce, tomato paste and the chili seasoning. If you don’t want to buy a packet of chili seasoning…you can get the same effect from salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and a bit of brown sugar. But the packet is so much easier.
I stir all of this together and let it go for another 10 minutes. This is necessary to soften up the carrots. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan when you stir. You want to get all the brown bits! That is flavor;)
After 10 minutes, I stir in the 2 cans of beans and the can of corn, which I have drained. At this point, the chili just needs to simmer together to meld the flavors. You can let it go 10 minutes, or you can crank it to low and let it go for an hour if you have things to do.
The chili is essentially done at this point. This chili has virtually no fat in it. Like I said above, you can eat a ton of it…and it will still be good for you! It has fiber, protein and lots of vitamins from the veggies. Look at me, bein’ all healthy.
Like I said above, I baked up some sweet potato fries so that my chili could be used to make chili fries! I peeled 2 large sweet potatoes and cut them into sticks. I sprayed them with cooking spray and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
I put the sticks on a baking sheet that has a cooling rack on it. This will help the hot air of the oven go all around the fries….making them crispy. If they sit right on the baking sheet, the bottoms will get soggy. I cooked these at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I realize that a sweet potato and a regular white potato aren’t that different calorie wise. I chose sweet potatoes because they are packed with vitamins and other good stuff. I figure if I am going healthy, I might as well go all the way.
I portion about a half a sweet potato per person. These got yummy and crispy. They would be great sprinkled with brown sugar…..oops, there I go again…adding calories. I guess I shouldn’t wonder where the weight gain came from;)
I topped my fries with a full cup of chili, low-fat cheese and non-fat sour cream. I also sprinkled on some reserved red onion. See what I mean? This is a ton of food! And it is food that will make your whole family happy….including the men that can “stop snacking after 10pm” to lose 15 pounds. Unfair.
These chili fries were amazing! The chili was smoky and a bit spicy, and the fries were crispy and sweet. The perfect combo……
You should try this for your next tailgate, or party, or family dinner! Especially if you resemble a Sumo wrestler…like me!
Court’s Light Chili
1 pound ground turkey, extra lean
¾ cup red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
¾ cup zucchini, diced
¾ cup carrots, diced
¾ cup bell pepper, diced
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Gourmet Rooster BBQ sauce
1 packet of chili seasoning
15 ¼ ounce can corn, drained
15 ¼ ounce can black beans, drained
15 ¼ ounce can kidney beans, drained
In a large pot sprayed with cooking spray, brown the turkey meat, about 5 minutes. Remove meat and set aside. In the same pot, add onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot and bell pepper. Sauté, over medium high heat, until the veggies are softened, about 10 minutes.
Add turkey back to pot and stir in crushed and diced tomatoes, tomato paste, BBQ sauce and chili seasoning. Cover the pot and let simmer, over medium heat, for 10 minutes.
Remove lid and add beans and corn. Recover and let simmer for at least another 10 minutes.
Serve with low-fat cheese, raw red onion and non-fat sour cream.