When you live in a city that never stops raining and hasn’t had more than one sunny day in a row in ages – you kind of feel like you’re living in an eternal winter. So, even though it’s April and we are officially in Spring, I’m still craving the kinds of dishes you would eat for warmth in the thick of winter. However, I do know that one day the sun will come out again and I want my booty to look nice in a clingy sundress so I’m trying to keep the comfort food on the healthy side, at least the majority of the time.
I’ve found it easy to eat this way if I don’t deprive myself of the things I truly crave – in this case a big bowl of comforting chili – so long as I “health-ify” it a bit. Instead of using ground beef, I use chicken breast that I grind myself so I can control how much/little fat goes into the meat. Instead of pouring the chili over a big bowl of rice, I make a batch of quinoa and I’m not just saying this – you can barely tell the difference. Plus added protein and complex carbs – hello! Instead of drowning my chili in cheddar cheese (mmm) I use a tablespoon sprinkled over top and then a bit of avocado for extra flavour and healthy fats. I even use a half serving of sour cream, if I’m feeling wild. Jk – I always use sour cream, what else would make the green onions looks so pretty in a picture!
True story, the best chili I ever had in my life was in the dining hall at NYU. They used to have this build your own chili bowl section in the cafeteria and I’m pretty sure I went weeks without eating anything else. I’m all about those bowls of comfort food: pho, mac n cheese, chili with all the fixins – there is nothing better. Give this a try next time you’re craving something warm, filling and delicious!
For the Chicken Chili…
- 1lb ground chicken
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 gloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 jar of roasted red peppers, chopped (the secret to the tastiest chili ever)
- seasonings: sweet paprika, garlic powder, chili powder & cajun seasoning (various amounts based on personal preferences, I’d say I do about a 1/2tbsp – 1 tbsp of each)
- 1 cup corn niblets (I used frozen but you can also use fresh/canned)
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
For the Quinoa…
- dried quinoa (depends how much cooked quinoa you feel like making – 1 serving just for tonight, enough to keep in the fridge for leftovers?)
- veggie or chicken stock (or you could use water but I like the extra flavour stock adds)
- seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan & Herb Clubhouse seasoning
For the toppings… (this is where you can get creative!)
- avocado, diced (I use about 1/4 avocado per bowl)
- grated cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- green onions, chopped
(optional) Step 1: Grind boneless, skinless chicken breasts – or just buy ground chicken.
Step 2: Chop your veggies & gather your spices (set up your mise en place, it just makes life SO much easier).
Steps 3 & 4: Saute onions, celery and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Then add chicken and cook over medium heat until golden brown.
Step 5: Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes with juice to the pot. Give it a good stir and cook for a few minutes, mostly to heat through.
Step 6: Add the fun stuff: chopped roasted red peppers, all the seasonings, corn and kidney beans. Give it a good stir and let cook over medium heat until bubbling. Turn heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes to really develop the flavours.
Step 7: While the chili is simmering, cook up some quinoa according to the packaging. Usually I cook mine in some veggie stock and add a dash of my favourite spice (Parmesan & Herb seasoning by Clubhouse).
Step 8: Place some quinoa in a bowl – 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked quinoa should do ya – and pour the chicken chili on top. Then add your toppings and dig in!