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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ninja Chili


I tend to crave hot soups and chili when the temperatures get cooler.  Last week's unusually early cold snap got me in the mood to whip up a quick batch of chili.  I wanted this chili to include more vegetables than usual, but I know my son who is currently in a "I don't like peppers or zucchini phase" would not eat my chili if he could see them in there.  So I used a little trick I read years ago from a book I have called Stealth Health by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D.  She has many tips to "Eat Right in Spite of Yourself."  One of these tips is to dice the veggies so small they are almost undetectable.  You must be careful to choose veggies that will blend in with what you're cooking, otherwise I would advise pureeing them.  For this chili, I added red and green peppers because they would blend in easily.
  
One more tip to keep this recipe cost effective and healthy is to use your own seasonings.  If you are working towards eating at home more always keep the most generally used seasonings in any recipe.  This includes oregano, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and I'm sure a few more.  I used to always buy the Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Kit, until I actually read all of the packets and realized I had all the ingredients anyway.  I decided I was wasting my money buying a chili kit so I stopped.  Plus, you can control exactly what goes into your chili and change things up as you get more confident in knowing what you and your family will eat.


Finally, I only call this Ninja Chili because I made it using my Ninja.  This device is a staple in helping me make quick healthy meals.  I enjoy my slow cooker and you can make this recipe using yours.  I prefer my Ninja because I can cook or sear the meat in the same pot where I'm slow cooking.  I also think the cast iron pot gives the food a different taste than the typical ceramic pot of a slow cooker.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. ground meat (at least 95% lean ground beef, ground chicken, turkey or even lean pork)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 C stewed tomatoes (I ALWAYS make extra of Brooklyn Farm Girl's and freeze them - BFG Best Stewed Tomatoes)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 8-ounce cans of water
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, chopped finely
  • 1 green pepper, chopped finely
  • 1 15 ounce can or 2 Cups cooked, drained and rinsed black or kidney beans (optional)

Directions:
  1. Brown the ground meat on high and break apart with a utensil that will not damage your Ninja's coated surface.  (For the recipe in the picture I used 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground chicken)
  2. Add the garlic and let cook for about 1 minute with the meat.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the onions, peppers and optional beans.  Stir and switch to the slow cooker mode.  Choose your temperature based on how much time you have before serving time.  (I  put it on high since dinner needed to be in about 2 hours)
  4. Chop your onions and peppers and stir in.  
  5. Add your drained and rinsed beans.
  6. Cooks Tip: Since the chili has had a few minutes to cook, take a teaspoon of the liquid and see if it will be flavorful enough for your family.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

For 21 Day Fix portions - 1 1/4 C is 1 Red, 1 Green and 1/2 Yellow

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