Cooks Corner

Published 12:39 pm Monday, January 10, 2005

By By Lisa Tindell
With the new year at hand, many people turn to thoughts of taking off those holiday pounds. Soups and stews seem to be a good way to have a hearty meal without adding a lot of fat and/or calories to your diet.
One solution to creating a robust meal is Chicken Chili. This one-pot meal is full of protein from the meat and beans and is vitamin rich with peppers and onions. Using chicken instead of ground beef lowers the fat content. Using olive oil in this recipe also helps lower "bad fat" as well.
Chicken Chili
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
5 cups chicken broth
2 (15 ounce) cans chili or kidney beans
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1/4 cup cornmeal (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
In a large stock pot, saute chicken, olive oil, onion, garlic, red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper, until vegetables start to soften. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook on medium for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, beans and green chilies and continue to cook on medium low for 5 to 10 minutes. If you want to thicken soup, mix cornmeal with a little water to form a paste and add to chili. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce and serve.
Serve this dish with crackers or cornbread and a green salad and you're all set for a wonderfully healthy meal.
One variation to a chili recipe is this wonderful recipe using black beans instead of chili or kidney beans. It's similar to chili, therefore making it a crowd pleaser.
Black Bean and Salsa Soup
4 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups chunky salsa
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
In an electric food processor or blender, combine beans, broth salsa and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth. Heat the bean mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated. To serve, ladle soup into 4 individual bowls and top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the sour cream, and 1/2 teaspoon green onion.
Here's hoping that your new year brings joy, happiness and lots good eating!