Sunday, October 20, 2013

When It's Chilly, think Chili

Last year at this time I was attending a
blogging conference, in St. Louis, Missouri. You can read about my presentation at Show Me The Blog here. This is where I met Alex Economy, today's guest blogger. She is sharing her chili recipe in honor of National Chili Month.

As the temperatures outside begin to cool down and football season begins to heat up, score big with your family and friends with delicious, homemade chili. Chili makes a wonderful, filling meal as it offers a wide variety of nutrition. From the lean protein, nutrient-rich vegetables and the fiber-filled beans you just can’t go wrong. Recipes can vary greatly, but a common staple used in chili is canned tomato products. 

Canned tomato products are one of the best sources of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with cancer-fighting and heart-health benefits and what gives tomatoes their bright red pigment. Lycopene is better absorbed by the body in processed tomato products because it’s released when tomatoes are processed. The lycopene concentration is five times greater in a half cup of tomato sauce than in a whole raw tomato. 

To build up a nutritious and satisfying bowl of chili begin with extra-lean ground beef. Then add no-salt-added canned tomato products such as stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. Don’t forget to load up on vegetables such as bell peppers, okra, jalapenos, mushrooms, sweet corn and onions. Add additional color, texture and super-satisfying protein with different types of beans such as white beans, black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. 

Personalize your chili with various toppings such as hot sauce, crackers, sour cream (non-fat plain Greek yogurt for a healthy trade-up), scallions, cilantro, corn bread or brown rice. Don’t forget the dairy-good shredded cheese, such as Sharp Cheddar or shred up spicy Pepper Jack cheese for an extra kick!

Don’t hesitate to expand beyond the norms of chili, be bold and add unique ingredients such as okra, tomatillos or sweet potatoes. Remember to complete your meal with a side of low-fat or fat-free milk and fruit for dessert. Here is a simple and quick 30-minute chili recipe that is perfect for a busy parent to whip up for their next meal. 

30-Minute Chili
Serves 8

All you need:
1 pound ground chuck beef (80% lean)
¾ cup chopped yellow onion
1 package (1.25 oz each) chili seasoning mix
1 can (16 oz) beans in chili-seasoned sauce, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, no-salt-added, undrained
1 can (10 oz each) Ro-Tel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce, no-salt-added
1 cup water

All you do:
1. Cook beef and onion in large saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain.
2.  Stir in seasoning mix. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes, stirring several times.

Nutrition per serving (1 cup): 204 calories; 7 g total fat (2 g saturated fat); 33 g cholesterol; 793g sodium; 19 g carbohydrates; 6 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 15 g protein. Daily values: 8% vitamin A; 18% vitamin C; 7% calcium; 11% iron. Source.

Alexandra Economy, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with Hy-Vee, Inc. and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

You may also enjoy  I Heart Beef! another guest blog from Alex.

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