Chili is a popular meal in our house – we love to keep it in the freezer for an easy and healthy option.  So often, I come across Chili recipes that are too labor intensive and/or just have too much fat in them.  Creating a healthy and EASY Chili recipe has been on my radar for a while and I am happy to share it.

The add-in of the crumbled Polenta gives this Chili a creamier texture and keeps it nice and thick.  Top it off with some Baked Tortilla Chips and some fresh chopped cilantro and you will have a hearty and healthy meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner!

Notes:

  • If you have a food processor or even a mini-prep, this is the time to bust it out.  The prep will be done in minutes.  Make sure to process the celery and jalapeno first, then add in the onion and garlic as you don’t want to over-process your onions and have them turn watery.
  • As for spiciness, if you want this Chili MILD, omit the jalapeno, only use 3 tablespoons of chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper flakes. If you want it MEDIUM, keep the jalapeno but don’t use the ribs or seeds.  If you want it SPICY, use the whole jalapeno including seeds and ribs.
  • Speaking of jalapeno’s, I use gloves to seed my hot peppers.  I use these gloves to handle raw meats as well.  When it comes to hot peppers, this is an easy way to clean up and not have to wash your hands 50 times.  This is especially helpful when you have a Toddler like I do and don’t want jalapeno residue on your skin!
  • I use Lean Beef for this recipe because I think it lends the best flavor but you can easily substitute ground Chicken or Turkey.
  • Pre-prepared Polenta is used for this recipe.  Trader Joe’s has a great Organic version for about $1.99.  Whole Foods and many other grocery stores sell the Food Merchant’s Brand. It is a bit more expensive but more readily available if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s. I use the entire package but we really like our chili thick so I recommend starting out with half the polenta tube.
  • Like most chili recipes, this tastes better the next day and freezes great!


4.8 from 4 reviews

Everyday Beef + Bean Chili
 
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Cook:

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6 Points Plus Per Serving — Individual Serving is 1 Heaping Cup — Recipe Makes 8 Servings
By:
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, rinsed and chopped
  • 3½ Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 package prepared polenta (pre-prepared tube style)

Instructions
  1. Prepare your jalapeno according to how spicy you want the Chili.
  2. Use food processor (or chop by hand) to chop onion, garlic, celery, and jalapeno.
  3. Open cans of beans, rinse and drain. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in large soup pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic, celery, and jalapeno. Saute until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add beef and break up with a spoon. Saute until meat is browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally. Drain meat and vegetable mixture through a colander to remove excess fat. Once drained, place back into soup pot.
  6. Add in your spice mixture (chili powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, and red pepper flakes).
  7. Stir to coat beef with spices for about 1 minute until fragrant.
  8. Next add in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and beans.
  9. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. While Chili is cooking, open your polenta and break up into crumbles. set aside.
  11. When cooking time is up, remove from heat, remove bay leaves, add in polenta crumbles and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  12. Serve with your favorite Chili toppings (shredded cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, shallots or red onion, and avocado) or just some fresh chopped cilantro and baked chips!