Healthy Chicken Chili

Cecilia Morton

image1_compressedBetter for your heart

Chili is an ever-popular dish, but is sometimes less than hearty-healthy because of the ground beef or pork that’s typically part of the dish. The cooks from Cooking with Heart have a healthy alternative for you to try: chicken chili. This is a great dish to double and freeze. Some night when you don’t feel like cooking or are in a hurry, you can just thaw and serve.

Start with the chicken

They begin with a pound of boneless, skinless chicken tenders. Equally healthy alternatives include a pound of ground turkey or ground chicken. The first thing to do is ascertain whether there’s any fat still on the tenders; if there is, remove it before you begin this recipe.

Now is the time to take a large deep pan, spray it with a nonfat cooking spray, and put it on the heat.

While that’s heating up, cut the chicken tenders. These cooks recommend using kitchen scissors, which are considerably easier to use on chicken than a paring knife. When the chicken has been cut into small chunks, put it in the pan to start browning.

Add the vegetablesimage2_compressed

There are a number of other ingredients to add to the chicken in the pot. The first thing is one red onion, shopped. Red onions have a lot of strong flavor that holds up to cooking and to reacting with other ingredients, which is important in a dish such as chili.

Along with the red onion, chop up one pepper (any color) and add it. Put in three garlic cloves that you’ve already minced.

Then add ½ t. pepper, 1 t. chili powder, and 1 tsp cumin. Stir all the ingredients together on your cooktop and then let it cook for seven minutes to make sure that the chicken pieces are cooked through.

This is when you add in the beans that are critical for any chili recipe. Again, choose low-sodium beans; salt can lurk in all sorts of prepared and canned foods, so always be on the lookout. You’ll want two 16-oz cans of the low-sodium beans; kidney beans are a chili classic, but you can alternate them with lighter beans or even garbanzos to make something lighter to go with the lightness of the chicken flavor. Drain the can and rinse the beans before adding them to the chili pot. Mash up these beans slightly and add them in, along with 2 C. low-sodium fat-free chicken broth. This broth will support the chicken flavor, but as long as you buy the low-sodium kind, your recipe will stay heart-healthy.

image3_compressedSimmer and serve

And that’s it! This may be the easiest recipe you’ll ever put together! Let this simmer on low heat on your cooktop for 10 minutes or longer (your house will start to smell heavenly!). You can simmer for longer (for example, if you make it in a crock pot) but you don’t need to.

To serve, just dish the chili into bowls and garnish with some chopped fresh cilantro and some low-fat or fat-free sour cream. Enjoy!