Thursday, February 9, 2012

Paula's Meatless (but you'd never know it) Chili

     Did you know that your heart beats about 100,000 times a day? That's about 35 million beats a year, and over two and a half billion beats in the average lifetime. Did you know that even at rest, your heart muscles work hard? Twice as hard as the leg muscles of a person sprinting! In one day, your heart pumps your blood a total of 12,000 miles- four times the distance across the US from coast to coast. That makes me tired just thinking about all of the work my heart is doing! (Heart facts from NOVA online.)

      This month, National Heart Month, is a good time to take a look at what you're doing to keep your hard working heart happy. One way to show your heart some love for all it does for you is to eat a heart healthy diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, a heart healthy diet limits unhealthy fats and sodium, includes low fat protein sources and is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. This has been near and dear to me ever since hubby's heart attack and bypass surgery-  I'm always on the lookout for tasty recipes that fit the bill.

     Standing in the grocery checkout line, I saw this crockpot chili on the cover of a recent Woman's Day magazine. I had to have it. I even went back into the store and bought the ingredients I needed for it. I made it the first chance I had, and I have to say that it's a keeper. It's a low fat, meatless chili, full of beans, flavorful veggies and whole grains- wheat berries. I reduced the salt from the original recipe to make it even more heart friendly, and topped it with avocado.    

   This is the perfect vegetarian chili for a "dyed in the wool" meat eater. The wheat berries give it a toothsome texture, and if you didn't know better, you might even argue that a bit of burger was in there. Your heart will know it's not, though. The corn adds a little sweetness and a little pop of color, and the chipotle adds a smoky element.  Avocado is a great topper too, with healthy fats your heart will love.

     With the exception of soaking the wheat berries overnight, all you have to do is throw all of the ingredients into your crock pot, turn it on, and go about your business of the day. When dinner time rolls around, the intoxicating aroma of hearty chili welcomes you to sit down to a bowl of spicy goodness.You can heat it up as much as you want with extra hot sauce or even a couple of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo. I hope you get the chance to try this one- your heart will thank you!

You can find the recipe at the link below:
Paula's Meatless (but you'd never know it) Chili
Recipe from Paula Zsiray, Woman's Day magazine, February 2012
I made it mostly as written, but made the following changes:
  • used fresh oregano instead of dried (because that's what I had!)
  • used low/no sodium canned tomatoes and beans
  • used diced tomatoes instead of puree (because that's what I had!)
  • did not add any additional salt
  • added a chopped chipotle pepper
  • garnished with avocado
The recipe also says to wait until five minutes before serving to add in the beans, corn, pepper and hot sauce. I added everything in at the beginning and it turned out just fine. :)
I will definitely make this again!
Each serving has 360 calories, 2 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein.

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