If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that last week I tried two new recipes that were out of this world!!!
Have you guys heard of Gina from skinnytaste.com? Gina takes some really amazing full-fat recipes and turns them into leaner, healthier, figure-friendly versions. I’ll admit that I don’t use many of her recipes because some are still higher in calories than I like to allow or are more in-depth than what my schedule allows time for. With that said, ALL of her dishes look AMAZING and I’d love to try them all!
I follow skinnytaste on facebook and last week she posted a recipe for Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry. SKINNY CHINESE STYLE FOOD!!!! Woot! Woot! I had everything in my fridge and pantry for this one AND it fell into the QUICK fix category that my weeknights requires. Plus, it was something different to do with chicken and asparagus!
Gina didn’t recommend to serve hers over rice, but to make it a full meal I chose to do so.
Are you not an asparagus fan?
Don’t brush this recipe off!!!! You can EASILY substitute broccoli for the asparagus! Broccoli and lemon are such a beautiful couple!!! Try it that way instead.
This was a great one that I will definitely be repeating regularly.
And now for the chili…
Okay, for the past TEN years I’ve been making my same style of chili. I haven’t thought much of it. I thought it was tasty. Then one day, this past winter, out of the blue, Grady tells me (after TEN YEARS) that he doesn’t really like my chili.
TEN YEARS he waits to tell me this????
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind him telling me that he doesn’t care for something I make. That’s fine. We don’t all have the same likes. ….but, to wait TEN YEARS to tell me is a little odd.
So… I was on the hunt for a new chili recipe. On a recent trip to see my sister we were discussing the complexities of the perfect chili. She told me about Pat and Gina Neely’s (not my skinnytaste Gina) chili recipe. She pointed out that most of us just start dumping our seasonings into the pot of goodness hoping that it comes out just right each time. Yes, I am guilty of this. Measuring spoons and I have a love/hate relationship. I rarely use them. I’m an eye-baller kind of cook.
Back to the Neely’s recipe. She said that their recipe had EXACT measurements for all the goodness and that it was the first recipe that she’d come across that got it RIGHT.
Saturday was forecast to be a cold and dreary day in Kansas so I thought it’d be a great day to test it out. It would HAVE to be a weekend meal or crock pot creation as it required an hour and a half to get all happy in the pot.
I’m going to confess that after I put all of the concoction together and tried it (prior to the hour and half bubble fest) I was worried. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of chili powder plus another tablespoon of chipotle chili powder PLUS a tablespoon of paprika. Needless to say, it had an EXTREMELY earthy taste. It reminded me of red enchilada sauce, which I’m not much of a fan of. I got nervous that I wasn’t going to like this chili and that my family would hate it, too. I quickly added a tablespoon of sugar to balance the earthiness and let the pot simmer away.
While I tried to follow this recipe to the T, I did make a few minor adjustments for the health factor. The original recipe is extremely high in fat content and I’m not an advocate for things swimming in grease or unnecessary fat. Let’s face it, not only do I watch my calories, but my husband and I are of the age that cholesterol and heart health are important. So, here’s what I changed.
I DID leave the bacon fat in the pot to saute the vegetables and seasonings in. In the grand scheme of things it really wasn’t that much, so I sacrificed the fat factor for the taste on that one. According to the Neely’s recipe they want the cook to add the ground beef and pork straight to the veggie and seasoning mixture. They then tell us to immediately add the beans and beer after the meat is browned. There is no mention of draining the fat off the ground meat. This is where I changed things up. I couldn’t do that. I used all beef in my recipe since my little store was out of ground pork that day, so the fat coming off the meat was a lot. Before I started browning my meat I removed the veggie/seasoning mix from the pot and then browned the meat. After the meat was browned I drained AND rinsed it. When I added it back to the pot I added the veggies and let them brown a little more together getting the seasoning all over the meat before I added the beer and beans. When I did my calculations for this in myfitnesspal.com the difference was ONE HUNDRED calories per serving between the full-fat Neely version and the slightly revised Alisha version. That’s a lot in my book.
One last thing that I did differently… I didn’t have any chipotle chili powder readily available to me, but I did have a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. I substituted the powder with three minced chili peppers. I think next time I’ll only use one as these DO have a kick and my kids weren’t huge fans. If you’re not a chipotle chili lover, like my husband, then simply replace the chipotle powder with another tablespoon of the regular version. I LOVE chipotles so this awesomeness in my mouth!
After the chili did it’s thing for an hour and half I was pleasantly surprised that the deep earthy flavor I was fearing in the beginning had mellowed. (Next time I won’t add the tablespoon of sugar!) This stuff was KILLER! They recommended serving it with a little cheese, sliced green onions and a lime wedge. I had never used lime in my chili, but did this time. And… I added a little cilantro because I’m crazy like that.
PARTY IN MY MOUTH!!!
This will definitely be a chili creation that I make again (with a few more minor tweaks to please the family).
Peace, love and happy tummies!!!!