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Making chili like a Ninja

Chicken black bean chili labeled
Is it chilly where you live? Here in Humidityville, the daily highs are still up near 90, so, just to let you know, I am TOTALLY JEALOUS of all you sweater wearers getting to run and walk outdoors and not coming back purple faced and drenched in sweat.

Speaking of chilly, I thought it was finally a good time to share with you my go-to chili recipe. I can't believe I haven't posted this because I make it all the time -- even when it's 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity.

I consider this recipe to be a "living document" in that you can sub in whatever kind of ground meat you have on hand. I've made this with turkey, chicken and buffalo. I wasn't fond of the recipe with ground beef because it came out a little greasy, especially when I don't brown the meat first (yeah, sometimes I'm lazy like that; it's just dump and run). 

You also can switch it up with the vegetables. I usually use onions and a variety of bell peppers but chopped mushrooms work great, too, especially chopped portobellos.

Oh, and the beans! Black beans, red kidney beans, cannellini beans -- all of them work well in this. (Pinto beans don't -- just sayin'.) 

And you can make this a few different ways. I've made this in a pressure cooker, in a big skillet, a slow cooker, or my favorite way -- in a Ninja Cooking System. Depending on what I've got going on, I can either make chili in "real time" or use the slow cooker setting and let it cook all day. What I like about the Ninja is that I can brown the meat on the stovetop setting to give it a richer flavor and color. 

(I've had the Ninja cooker since the beginning of the year and I've made a bunch of things in it, from chili to chicken wings to a whole chicken. I haven't tried baking in it yet but I've heard that baked goods come out really moist.) 

This recipe makes 6 big servings, which you can eat on its own or over a baked potato, which is my favorite way of repurposing the leftovers. That way you can use a half serving over the potato and really stretch the recipe.

When it comes to the canned goods, I try and stick with sodium free or reduced sodium beans and tomatoes to keep the overall sodium count down. This is still a little high so if you're watching your salt, make sure you compensate by making lower sodium choices the rest of the day.

Chicken Black Bean Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder (if you're not using Mexene, you're not living)
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teapoons garlic salt (Lawry's is my fave)
  • 1 15.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15.5-ounce can salt-free fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 15.5 cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons shredded 2% Cheddar cheese

Chili cooking in the ninjaHeat the olive oil over medium-high heat in your Ninja or in a large skillet (at least 12 inches). Add ground chicken, onions and peppers and saute until chicken is slightly browned and the vegetables are tender. Add chili powder, spices and garlic salt and combine. 

Add in tomatoes and beans and, if using a skillet, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for at least 30 minutes. If using a Ninja, switch to the slow cooker setting and cook on the low setting for 6 hours. 

When done, top each serving with a tablespoon of shredded Cheddar.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: 384 calories, 13g fat, 3g saturated fat, 941g sodium, 46g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 10g sugars, 27g protein.