Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Healthy Chili--Tips and Tricks

Beans are known as a Super-food, with antioxidants, fiber, a high water content, and protein. According to WebMD, they may even help fight cancer and diabetes!
Chili not only has the Super-food beans in it, but is well loved by so many people, especially my husband. But did you know there are other ways to make your chili even healthier than just including beans?

Steps to Making Healthier Chili

(You don't have to try all my tips all at once. Pick and choose.)

1) Grab your favorite chili recipe, or you may use this one from Caramel Potatoes. (That's the blog name. You don't put caramel in your chili)

What's that? You thought I had my own recipe? I do, but it's my mother-in-law's top secret recipe. So you just get to look at my pictures and wonder what's in my bowl. However, I promise you the one in the link makes great chili too.

2) Switch out your ground beef for ground turkey.
Unnecessary story:
My husband and I made chili for a church cook-off in a well-to-do area. We were not well to do. He was in college and I worked at a school. Some people wanted to win the chili competition so badly, they bought expensive cuts of meat in their chili. Others just did normal ground beef. We did a roll of Jennie-O turkey. Guess who got first prize? Yes, it was us. 

Regardless if you use beef or turkey, cook it in a skillet and drain off excess grease before you add it to your pot.

3) Hide 1/2 cup dry oatmeal per 1 lb ground meat. 
After cooking your meat and draining off the fat, stir in the oats. Use either the quick oats or regular rolled oats.

What's that, you say you can still see the oats? Me too... for now.

4. Hide veggie puree in your chili. Make sure everyone is eating some extra veggies!
Frozen broccoli, microwaved, then pureed in water off the beans and... other secret stuff.

What's that? You say you can still see the broccoli? And the top's all frothy? Wait until you cook it 4 + hours.

My favorite is to use frozen broccoli. Microwave 1 to 2 cups of it for 2 minutes to thaw, then blend it using liquid off your beans, or just water. If you use water, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken your chili.

5) Cook (low simmer) for at least 4 hours! I like to use my slow cooker. This tip doesn't make your chili healthier, but is necessary for hiding the oatmeal and veggies and just makes the chili so much more delicious.

Precooked. See the oats and broccoli?
Post-cooked. No one will know what's in it! 

Why Chili is Associated with Being Unhealthy

1) Chili is often served with unhealthy things like hot dogs (processed meat, high in fat and sodium), tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese sauce, and fries. 

2) Some chili is made fattening. Your homemade stuff doesn't have to be, so don't worry.

3) Some chili is high in salt. Some people rinse off their canned beans to decrease the salt content. If you do this, you may want to add a teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken your chili. Just beware of what you're putting in your chili.

Good luck with your chili. I love that it only takes a little hands-on time, about 30 minutes, for a hearty, healthy meal that my husband loves. Also, I make a bunch. When it's done, I freeze half of it for another time, and there's still enough for several meals for the 2 of us.
And it's honestly better the second day. Serve with baked potatoes, wheat crackers, and veggie muffins.

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