Sunday, June 14, 2009

Taco Chili Souper Salad

I’m not a big chili fan. Something about the texture weirds me out. But I made chili using coarse ground beef (instead of regular) the other night, and it was FANTASTIC! I was so excited! Plus I’m using up the beans in my pantry, which I don’t tend to eat, so this was a win-win, as far as I’m concerned. :)

This is also a fairly healthy dish. There is a little bit of fat in the beef and the sausage, and of course if you add guacamole, cheese and sour cream, you’ll increase the fat a LOT, but even still it’s not too bad. (And the avocado fat is even good for you! Actually, I think it’s all pretty ok, unless you’re allergic to dairy, but different studies say different things about that, so I’ll just sing the praises of the avocado, ok? Everyone seems happy with plant-fats.)

I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet though, so I also didn’t really want to just eat a big bowl of chili. I started thinking about serving it over salad, and ta-da! Taco-chili Souper Salad! (Cutesy name, huh? I can’t decide if I like it or not.) The cold, crisp texture of the lettuce, tomatoes and onions contrasts really well with the warmth of the chili. AND since the chili has some juice in it, you don’t even need dressing! (No, really. Trust me. I’m the dressing QUEEN. I promise you don’t need it here, though. ;D)

The Recipe:
Chili only: 6-8
Chili over salad: 8-10

The Soup:
nonstick spray
1 pound coarse ground lean ground beef (ideally 10% fat or less)
2 Italian sausage links (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
1 15-oz can black beans with juice
1 15-oz can white beans (also called cannellini or Great Northern beans) with juice
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 4-oz can diced green chilis
1 package taco seasoning

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and add the ground beef. Cut the sausage casings open and put the meat into the skillet with the ground beef. Add the onion and cook the whole mixture until the meat is browned.

Beginning with the meat (if you’re using 10% fat or less, don’t drain the fat), add the ingredients to the crockpot, and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Saute the onions in a large pot. Add the beef and sausage and cook through. Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to simmer
until heated thoroughly. This will produce a slightly thicker chili than the crockpot.)

The Salad:
3 romaine hearts, chopped/shredded/whatever
16 oz cherry or grape tomatoes
sliced red onion
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly (optional – I did not include it in mine)
1 14-oz can corn (optional – I did not include it in mine)

On the side (optional):
sour cream
shredded cheese

On a plate, pile up the lettuce. Spoon some hot taco-chili over the lettuce, and top with the remaining salad fixings. (Because there will be juice in the chili, you won’t need dressing.)

Perfect: healthy, comforting and refreshing, all at the same time. Who knew? :)

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