Part of my success or lack thereof in dieting involves my ability to eat the same foods over and over again. Through Season One that evolved into making large batches of meals and portioning them off so we had easy food to take for lunch that wasn’t saturated in sodium. What helps out in this instance is making it taste good and something you like. For my first posted recipe, I’m going with Brat Chili.
I know, if there are brats in that chili, how can it be healthy? The idea is to make something fresh, good for you, low in sodium and the like but still filling enough for a meal. And if you’re worried about the fat content as well as the calories, you can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey and the brats with turkey brats. The calories won’t go down as much as you think, but it is less fat.
First off you’ll need a shopping list.
- 2 pounds of ground beef (as lean as you can get it)
- 1 pound of brat meat (single packages are about 1 pound)
- 2 cans of black beans (can use red kidneys or a combination for variety)
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- 4 fresh jalapeno peppers
- 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic
- 1 medium-large onion
- 4 small cans (5.5oz) of V8 (or the equivalent)
- note: you can substitute plain tomato juice for V8 if you want to keep the sodium down
- chili seasoning (I used Chili9000 blend from Penzey’s)
- ando chili powder (my personal tastes include adding this to the seasoning mix)
- cayenne pepper (if you want to kick the heat up more – only for HEAT eaters)
- olive oil (for saute mode on onions, garlic and jalapeno)
With your ingredients purchased, you can either make this in a pot or in a slow cooker. When time allows, I use the slow cooker to free me up from watching it.
Get out two pans. In one, put the onion and garlic chopped up with some olive oil. Saute them until just caramelized, be careful not to burn them. At the same time, brown the ground beef in the other pan.
While those are cooking, slice and de-seed the jalapenos and de-skin the brats (if you didn’t purchase unstuffed brats). When the onions/beef are done, drain the beef and put it and the onion/garlic mix into the slow cooker. Replace them with the jalapeno (and a small amount of olive oil) and the brat meat crumbled in the other.
Once those are done, drain the brat meat and toss both pans into the slow cooker.
Drain and rinse the beans (you can skip this step, but this will bring out the bean taste more in the chili – your call). Pour the beans, tomatoes, V8 (or tomato juice) into the slow cooker. This point gets a little more abstract – spice it to taste. For a full batch I usually use around 2 tablespoons of chili9000 blend, about a tablespoon of ancho powder and a teaspoon of extra cayenne pepper.
Mix it up and leave it on low for 4-5 hours and it will be blended well and ready to serve. You can eat it sooner, but I find that leaving it in and stirring it every so often gets the flavor through the dish and brings out the brat taste in it as well as the chili.
Actual Serving: 2 cups (a bowl)
Calories: around 220 per cup, closer to 200 if you use turkey meat
Yield: For this batch I think our final amount was around 18-20 cups worth. Enough for a meal that day and at least 3 days of lunch for everyone in the condo.
Pairings: I have a buttermilk cornbread recipe that goes real well with this. One cupcake/muffin sized serving is around 165 calories. For a drink, most of the time it is water, but if it’s a weekend and I still have calories left a Guinness goes down real nice with it, with a bottle being 175 calories.
What diet food do you like that some people would not call diet food?
Next Time – my modification to the chicken tortilla soup recipe I took from Eva Longoria’s cookbook. My seriously low calorie meal choice.