Chicken & Vegetable Chili

One of my favorite ways to hide vegetables is in chili! You can pack in a ton of things you might not ordinarily think to put in a basic chili, and the seasonings are so flavorful that the vegetables just add extra texture. Although I change this up often, last night I used:

  • Ground chicken
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Kidney beans
  • Red, yellow, and orange peppers
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Riced butternut squash
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, and salt

I also like to change it up sometimes and use black beans, hominy (instead of chicken), and riced cauliflower or riced broccoli. To make it easy, you can also get a single serving packet of chili seasoning – there are low-sodium versions.

First, I use about a tablespoon or so of olive (or coconut) oil and brown the ground chicken with onions and garlic (reserve some for the chili pot). Once browned, I drain the fat and set it aside.

While the chicken is browning, I have a large pot set on medium heat, and I use a little bit of oil to start sauteing the peppers (with a little bit of the reserved onions and garlic). Once the peppers are softened, I add the ground chicken into the pot and then pour in the diced tomatoes and kidney beans.

After mixing all the ingredients together, I add the seasonings. Generally, if you’re cooking around a pound of protein, you’ll want to use:

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt & 1/2 tsp of pepper

You can add any extra seasonings you like. Paprika works well, and if you use extra jalapeno or whole chili peppers, you can cut back on the powders! If you do buy a seasoning packet from the store and you’re trying to keep this keto or low-carb, just be sure to read the ingredients list because some of the packets contain enriched flour or sugar.

I bring the pot to a boil and then let it simmer for about ten minutes. Next, I add the zucchini and riced butternut squash (which thaws in the refrigerator all day) and cook at a low simmer for another fifteen minutes.

You can serve the chili with cheese, sour cream, and avocado! I had mine with a little bit of cheese and some gluten-free crackers for an extra crunch. When I was in grade school, I used to mix oyster crackers with the chili they served at lunch, so I’ve always liked having a crunchy texture in my chili.

If you’d like to make this vegetarian, I definitely recommend using hominy! It adds an excellent meaty texture, and it adds to the flavor. You can also use vegetarian meat crumbles. or just add extra veggies!

The whole prep/cook time takes less than an hour, and it doesn’t require constant monitoring. Before I sat down to this meal, I had a workout at the gym – I don’t feel right if I don’t start my week off with a workout!

I like to change things up so my body and muscles don’t get too used to one exercise. I did a couple circuits. My first circuit was a warm-up with lighter weights. I did 4 sets of 25 jumping jacks using 5-lb weights in each hand, and then I did a few different arm stretches with the weights. I used medium resistance bands for bicep curls and flys, and then I used some of the weight machines to introduce my arms to some exercises I hadn’t tried in a while. I finished off with 10 high-intensity minutes on the Arc trainer and cooled down with another 10 minutes walking on an incline.

This meal was great after a workout like that! I had enough leftovers to bring to work for lunch and paired it with a side salad of romaine, kale, green and purple cabbage, avocado, and cucumber.

Aside from the workouts and good eats, I’ve been having some car trouble, which is always an inconvenient annoyance. I’m hoping to get that fixed tomorrow, and I’ll have a fun happy hour after work. I am leaning toward a White Claw hard seltzer! These are low-carb, low-sugar, and under 100 calories per can! I definitely can use an evening to unwind 🙂

I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

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