instructor takeover: jenna’s favorite healthy dessert

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the biggest sweet tooth!  I’ll take sweet over salty any day.  I strive to eat as healthy and clean as I can to keep myself strong and energized to get through Paula’s killer thigh series, but I also know that I should treat myself in moderation.  I came across a healthy dessert blogger a year or two ago who goes by Chocolate Covered Katie.  I tried out a few of her recipes and I fell in love!  She has so many yummy, modified sweets recipes that won’t cost you a quarter of your daily calories like so many desserts do.

One of my favorites that I find myself making over and over is her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  These cookies don’t have any butter in them, so they will have a consistency more like a soft granola bar.  Bonus: They also have walnuts and coconut in them, adding in omega-3s & potassium!  Healthier dessert with benefits — who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • pinch of stevia, or 1 extra tbsp pure maple syrup
  • if using stevia option, add 1tbsp milk of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease a muffin pan or cookie tray.  I find the muffin pan works best so the cookies don’t roll around.  Since there is no butter in the recipe, they won’t melt like a normal cookie.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.  Combine the two bowls to form a dough.  Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.  After the dough has chilled, roll the dough into cookie-sized balls and place in the muffin pan or on the cookie tray.  Place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  Once you remove these yummy bites from the oven, let sit in pan for about ten minutes to cool before moving to the cooling rack or plate.  Dig in!  I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

xoxo,  Jenna C.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Nothing is more comforting when the temperature gauge is only able to barely make its way past 0 degrees than hot soup. Many soups can be so laden with butter or cream, though, that the momentary respite from the chill can leave you feeling weighted down and not-so-comforted. What if I could offer you the best of both worlds: a comfortingly warm and thick soup with only 99 calories per serving (need I even say that you will not feel regretful!) – perfection!

This soup is so thick and chock-full of vegetables that your tummy will feel completely full and satisfied and your mind can rest assured that you have taken in a daily dose of vitamins. The best way to describe this meal is pure – a glance at the ingredient list will tell you why – with 8 red peppers roasted and packed in and little else, the taste is purely sweet pepper, whose flavors are accentuated and amplified by the slow roasting process. It’s mm, mm good!

Pair with a salad, grilled cheese or multigrain roll to make this the main star of your meal!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

pepper-soup-ck-1215917-lIngredients:

  • 8 red bell peppers (about 2 3/4 pounds)
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) – more or less to taste!
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil for 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel and chop.
  3. Place peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaf on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, I used a tea steeper and it worked just great!)
  4. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 15 minutes or until onion is lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add bell peppers, cheesecloth bag, broth, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce to pan. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove and discard cheesecloth bag; stir in salt and black pepper. Place half of bell pepper mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to prevent splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl; repeat procedure with remaining soup. Sprinkle with chives.

Recipe Courtesy Domenica Marchetti, Cooking Light , August 2006

Yield 6 cups
Serving size 1 cup

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 99
  • Calories from fat: 22%
  • Fat: 2.4g
  • Saturated fat: 0.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 3.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 16.7g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 1.1mg
  • Sodium: 465mg
  • Calcium: 34mg

Stir-Fried Veggies + Tofu

Normally, I’m not a tofu person. However, I decided to give it a try: in addition to being wonderfully inexpensive, tofu is high in protein, low in fat, and very low in saturated fat. In addition, some studies show it can lower cholesterol and may even help prevent certain types of cancer, including breast and prostate.

Plenty for tofu to boast about, right? This definitely sounds like a protein that should be worked into the menu on a weekly basis and guess what? This recipe is incredibly delicious. Tofu essentially acts as a sponge, soaking up whatever you cook it in – so the flavors that come from the garlic, wine & soy sauce make the tofu completely moist & delicious! I’m completely converted and my tofu-stereotypes have been shattered – you, too?

Stir-Fried Vegetables and Tofu

Ingredients

  • vegetables-ck-225646-l2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup julienne-cut carrot $
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, divided
  • 1 tbsp red chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 cups julienne-cut zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups julienne-cut yellow squash
  • 1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 1/2 cups quartered cremini mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 (12.3-ounce) package reduced-fat extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups hot cooked jasmine or other long-grain rice

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot; stir-fry 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili-garlic sauce and 2 tablespoons wine; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add zucchini and squash; stir-fry 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons wine; stir-fry 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu; sauté 7 minutes, browning on all sides. Add soy sauce; cook 1 minute. Stir in sprouts, salt, and pepper. Add tofu mixture to vegetable mixture; heat thoroughly. Serve over rice.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup stir-fry and 1/2 cup rice)

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 225
  • Calories from fat: 22%
  • Fat: 5.5g
  • Saturated fat: 0.8g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 10.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 36g
  • Fiber: 2.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 3.4mg
  • Sodium: 418mg
  • Calcium: 58mg

Cooking Light
JANUARY 2000

Grilled Halibut w/Peach & Pepper Salsa

The long-awaited emergence of spring weather here in MN has most of us rushing out to fire up our grills and deliver as many “charred” meals to our table as possible: grilled meals simply taste better, it seems, especially coming off on a very extended winter season, & have less clean up! Win, win.

Since the usual suspects to throw on the grill are of the red meat variety, we always love to search out other options – and grilled fish just happens to be a summertime favorite of ours. This recipe calls for halibut, but artic char or striped bass would work, as well  – and topping the deliciously grilled fish with a fresh fruit salsa will make you rejoice in all things summery, fresh & delicious.

halibut-peach-salsa-ck-lHere, pairing the fiery habanero with the season’s juiciest of peaches comes together in a delightfully sweet yet spicy way, giving you the best of both worlds!

Grilled Halibut with Peach and Pepper

Serves: 4  (serving size: 1 fillet + 2/3 cup salsa)
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
Salsa:

  • 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh arugula
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Fish:

  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients; toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
  2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
  3. To prepare fish, combine 4 teaspoons juice, oil, paprika, and 1 garlic clove in a large, shallow glass baking dish, stirring with a whisk. Add fish to juice mixture; turn to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle fish evenly with 3/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place fish on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with salsa.

Jeanne Kelley, Cooking Light 
JUNE 2010

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 267
  • Fat: 8.6g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.6g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g
  • Protein: 35.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 11.8g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Cholesterol: 52mg
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Sodium: 389mg
  • Calcium: 104mg

Skillet-Seared Chickpea Bulgur Burgers with Roasted Asparagus

This is a delicious meatless meal that still packs the protein you need to power you through your day, with a deliciously exotic twist. Pair with slow-roasted asparagus that is packed with heart-healthy fats from the olive oil & almonds, and you will round out your wholesome dinner in under 30 minutes! If you are watching your carbs, skipping the pitas is a great option for these burgers – you’ll still get a serving of heart-healthy whole grains (and fiber to keep you full) from the bulgur! Bon apetit!

Skillet-Seared Chickpea-Bulgur Burgers

l_RU199291Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 – 15 ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus pinch coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed

Directions

1. Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add bulgur and simmer, partially covered, over medium heat 8 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat, cover pot and let bulgur rest 5 minutes.

2. Pulse garlic in a food processor until minced; set aside 1/2 teaspoon. Add chickpeas to remaining garlic and puree. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add carrot, scallions, cumin, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fluff bulgur with a fork and stir into chickpea mixture.

3. Shape 3/4 cup chickpea mixture into a 3/4-inch-thick patty; repeat with remaining chickpea mixture.

4. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt with reserved garlic and pinch of salt. Split pitas open and fill each with 1 patty, 2 slices tomato, 2 slices cucumber and 2 tablespoons yogurt sauce.

Nutrition Info Per Serving:
Calories: 374
Fat: 6 g
Protein: 16 g
Carbs: 67 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 663 mg

Roasted Asparagus with Slivered Almonds

Makes: 2 servings

asparagusIngredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
  4. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with almonds & serve!

Nutrition Info Per serving
Calories: 260
Fat: 15.9 g
Protein: 12 g
Carbs: 22 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sodium: 25 mg

Baked Salmon with Herbs

I get so excited whenever I come across a fantastic salmon recipe – I am always looking for a new way to dress up this fish. I know I should be eating it every week, as the health benefits are absolutely undeniable: high in protein, contains important unsaturated fats & omega-3 fatty acids and is low in mercury. I have re-made this recipe each week since I discovered it…the salmon baked in foil with the delicious marinade results in a moist yet flaky, fantastically-flavorful main dish.

This dish will come in around 400 calories – but take a look at the ingredients: the only calories from fat are coming from salmon and extra virgin olive oil – these are the fats that are getting so much attention these days as truly good for your heart and the kind of fats we should focus on eating. Enjoy!

Baked Salmon with Herbs

baked-salmon-oh-1733706-lIngredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 2 6 oz wild-caught salmon fillets

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine garlic, oil, basil, parsley, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl; mix well.

2. Place a large piece of tin foil in a shallow dish. Place salmon on foil, pour marinade on top. Seal top of tin foil together and marinate 20 minutes, turning once to get marinade on both sides.

3. Place sealed salmon on a baking sheet; bake 20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Chicken Paillard with Lemon Parsley Butter & Seared Red Chard

This absolutely delicious recipe will zest up any ordinary chicken dinner – paillard-style (pounding a protein to a thin, consistent thickness) anything is the perfect weeknight dinner because it takes only a few minutes to flatten and then even less time to cook, and the remaining elements of this dish are incredibly light but stand out in flavor. Combining the shallots and fresh lemons add outstanding flavor elements without added butter or oil.

The red chard base is unique and tasty while providing an astounding number of nutrients and antioxidants – this is one of those cases where I filled my plate 3x with the chard called for, filling myself up with low-calorie greens – for any who are slightly less zealous about the chard, try adding 1/4 cooked quinoa as an additional layer to add more bulk to the meal.

Chicken Paillard with Lemon Parsley Butter & Seared Red Chard

Serves 4
From Suzanne Somers cookbook The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible (adapted in Clean Eating)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp organic unsalted butter, divided
  • 10 shallots, finely diced
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bunches red Swiss chard, coarsely chopped

Directions:

 

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil on medium-high. Add chicken to skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer to a shallow baking pan and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm. 
  2. In skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter on medium-high. dd shallots and saute, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and broth and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Boil until liquid reduces by half.
  3. Cut remaining 2 tbsp butter into small pieces. Add to broth miture, whisking until smooth. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper, to taste. Cover skillet and keep warm.
  4. In a separate large skillet, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil on medium-high. Add chard and cook until wilted, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. To serve, divid chard among serving plates and top with chicken and butter mixture (add cooked quinoa, if desired!).

Nutrition Information:
(serving size 3 oz chicken and 1/2 cup chard)
Calories: 283
Fat: 16 g
Sat Fat: 7 g
Monounsaturated fat: 5 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g
Carbs: 13 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sugars: 3 g
Protein: 22 g
Sodium: 116 mg
Cholesterol: 72 mg

 

Breakfast for Dinner: Mushroom, Pepper and Fontina Frittata

As a child, it was always a fun, topsy-turvy treat to have “breakfast for dinner” by way of pancakes and eggs – but there’s absolutely no reason the deliciousness of that great idea should be in your past. Pancakes for dinner are always a winner, but if you’re looking for a lighter, healthier and significantly more elegant option, enter the frittata. Of course this delicious veggie egg dish would naturally be perfect for breakfast, but one-pot meals that save time are always a bonus towards the end of the day.

You can make this as is, but if you want to “bulk” it up a little bit, I actually added ham and layered the bottom of the skillet with thinly sliced (mandoline-style) potatoes, as noted below. Served with a side salad, your belly will be fully satisfied (which is shocking as one serving is well under 200 calories, even with my added extras).

With the seemingly fancy flipping that frittata-making requires, I had my doubts that this would turn out – but it was absolutely beautiful and help together perfectly as an “egg pie” out of the pan. The best part is that it reheats deliciously – dinner one night can be breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next few, as well!

Mushroom, Pepper and Fontina Frittata

Original recipe from health.com

Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 28 minutes. You’ll need a large, oven-safe skillet. Nonstick makes it easier to flip the frittata out of the pan.

mushroom-frittata-400x400Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 1 thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fontina cheese, cut into small cubes (about 5 ounces)

Optional extras (additional calories):

  • 1/2 cup diced, cooked ham (or chicken, turkey or sausage)
  • 1 thinly sliced potato

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a 10-inch, oven-safe skillet or sauté pan. Add onion and pepper; sauté over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, cover, and sauté 3 minutes, stirring several times. Add garlic, and sauté 1 additional minute. Remove vegetable mixture from heat, and transfer to a plate to cool briefly. Wipe pan with paper towels, and return to stove.

2. Combine eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, pepper, and basil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended; set aside. Heat skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes and add butter, swirling pan to melt butter evenly. If adding potato “crust”, line the bottom with 1 layer potato slices. Add vegetables and ham (if using) to egg mixture in bowl, stir, and carefully pour entire mixture into heated skillet. Scatter cherry tomatoes and cheese over egg mixture (do not stir).

3. Cook frittata gently over medium-low heat 15-18 minutes or untilit is cooked most of the way through. To finish cooking the top, preheat broiler and place the frittata about 6-8 inches from heat for 2-4 minutes (watch frittata carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn).

4. Remove frittata from oven, cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and shake pan rapidly back and forth to loosen. Cool a few more minutes, then carefully put a plate over the frittata and invert it onto the plate. Invert it again onto another plate so the frittata is right side up. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 168
Fat per serving: 13g
Saturated fat per serving: 5g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 5g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 1g
Protein per serving: 10g
Carbohydrates per serving: 4g
Fiber per serving: 1g
Cholesterol per serving: 189mg
Iron per serving: 1mg
Sodium per serving: 353mg
Calcium per serving: 114mg

Pink Grapefruit and Lychee Cocktail

Ah, ’tis the time of year for holiday parties! If you are looking for a new “wow” factor and oh-so-over the cosmo or pom-tini, check out this exotic beverage – a pink grapefruit and lychee beverage that is as sweet as it is elegant. Oh, and there’s vodka involved. (always necessary during the holidays!)

LycheeOf course, we prefer our cocktails to give us a little nutritional kick, as well, if at all possible – and this one lives up to the bill. Pink grapefruit is deliciously ripe this time of year – so pick up an extra one to snack on for a potassium, vitamin and fiber boost! And then there’s the lychee fruit, translated from Chinese as ‘gift for a joyful life’ and a seriously under-eaten fruit here in America, and aside from being incredibly sweet, really holds its own in the health department. Chock full of vitamin C and containing flavanoids that could help prevent breast cancer, lychee also contains phosphorous, calcium and magnesium.

All that, in one pretty little glass! Not too shabby.

Pink Grapefruit & Lychee CocktailPink Grapefruit and Lychee Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 (20-ounce) can lychees in syrup, undrained
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 cup unsweetened pink grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 5 pink grapefruit sections

Preparation

  1. Drain lychees in a colander over a bowl; reserve 1 cup syrup. Discard remaining liquid. Drop 1 lychee in the bottom of each of 5 glasses; fill each glass halfway with crushed ice. Reserve remaining lychees for another use.
  2. Combine reserved 1 cup lychee syrup, juice, and vodka in a large martini shaker filled halfway with ice; shake until well chilled. Strain 1/2 cup syrup mixture into each prepared glass; garnish each serving with 1 grapefruit section. Serve immediately.

Laura Zapalowski, Cooking Light
NOVEMBER 2008

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 131
  • Calories from fat: 0.0%
  • Fat: 0.0g
  • Saturated fat: 0.0g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.0g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.0g
  • Protein: 0.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 16.8g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 0.6mg
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Calcium: 8mg

Thanks to Cooking Light for the recipe – see it here!

Southwestern Chicken Chili in a Crock Pot

The crock pot has long been one of my kitchen favorites – a simple, one-pot meal-maker that simmers all day while you are busy running around town, resulting in a perfect, hot dinner when you get home! It’s almost like someone else cooked dinner for you…almost 🙂 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – that I am always on the hunt for delicious chili recipes this time of year – a chili is a perfectly satisfying meal for a cold night, and just as good reheated for lunches the next few days – who doesn’t love multiple meals coming out of that one pot? Plus, if ingredients are chosen correctly, the resulting meal is near perfection: totally filling and satisfying and nutrient-rich – from the protein chosen to the fiber-filled beans and nutrient-dense veggies – it really can be everything you need in a meal.

Chicken ChiliThis chicken chili is truly quite special – it has a creamy factor without being incredibly chunky because of the secret step – pureeing half of the beans and (gasp!) cauliflower before adding to the crockpot – that combined with thick, greek yogurt gives a creaminess that’s out of this world. I also love the use of cauliflower – it adds bulk and fiber to the meal without the added carbs of simply throwing in another can of beans – there is plenty of protein in this chili with the single can of beans + chicken, so another can is absolutely not necessary! Finally, to save yourself the effort of shredding the chicken before it’s done (we’re looking for easy, here!), use chicken tenders – they will literally become so tender by the end of cooking that it will appear you shredded away!

Southwestern Chicken Chili in a Crock Pot

Ingredients

1 1/4 pounds chicken tenders, diced
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can beans – I used Kidney because they were on hand, Great Northern or black would work, too, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt (or nonfat/low-fat sour cream)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 heaping cup fresh cauliflower, rinsed & chopped very tiny
1 4 oz can diced green chiles, drained
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 packet McCormick’s Chili Seasoning (low sodium, if available)

Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, shredded cheese

Directions

1. Place half of beans and half of cauliflower in blender with 1/4 cup water – blend until smooth

2. Place all ingredients in crockpot, cook on low 8 hours, or high 1 1/2-2 hours + low for 2 hours.

Nutritional Info:
6 servings – about 1 3/4 cups each

Calories: 247
Fat: 3 g
Carbs: 20 g
Fiber: 5.3 g
Protein: 33 g