Southwest Chilli Recipe (with pictures)

So, I’ve been making this chilli/stew/soup for a few months. I originally got the recipe from my husband’s boss’ wife, also I realized later that I pinned it too. Here’s the link to the website I pinned. This website described it as “Weight Watchers Taco Soup”. The recipe I was given was also titled taco soup. I think the word “taco” or “Mexican” is loosely and over/misused. I renamed it Southwest Chilli. I also made some changes.

http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/beef/weight-watchers-taco-soup.html

This recipe calls for lots of cans. Cans of beans, corn, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, as well as taco and ranch season packets. How is this supposed to be healthy!? I don’t understand the point thing with weight watchers. I know that vegetables and fruit are 0 points… but you know how much sugar is in some fruits?  I’ve made the original recipe without the taco seasoning (substituting my own blend) and without the ranch, but it’s super salty! Like seriously! I would have major headaches afterwards because my blood pressure was high. I understand weight watchers is supposed to help you lose weight, but I don’t think the program is very nutritious and doesn’t address other health issues people who are overweight or obese may have. But maybe I’m just biased because the Visalus Shape Shakes are super nutritious and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and have less than 1 gram of sugar in them…?  Anyway back to the chilli. I’ve made this several times, I even rinsed and soaked the beans and corn to help get rid of the sodium… still got headaches and my husband also felt “funny, like his blood was pulsing”…. We have been trying to reduce our sodium intake, high blood pressure runs in both of our families. So I decided to make it with fresh beans, and corn. I’m posting the modified recipe. I did not get a headache, and my husband felt fine and ate 3 bowls of the healthy Southwest Chili I made.

The biggest difference was the cook time. When I made the original recipe- it was done in about 30 mins. This version I used the Crockpot and my cooking time was about 5 hours. But I’ll talk about what I did and how you could probably cook this in 45 mins.

The original recipe called for 2-3 cans of kidney beans, 1 can of pinto beans, 1 can of corn, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, onion, ground beef, taco seasoning and ranch seasoning.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 6 hours (Crockpot)
Ingredients:
1 lb of either lean ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken (I’ve made the original with all of these – different times)
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 large onion chopped (or 1 small onion chopped)
3 tbs of Minced Garlic or 3 Cloves of Garlic chopped
1 6 oz can of Tomato Paste (No Salt Added)
1 8 oz can of Tomato Sauce (No Salt Added)
1 14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
1 small can of Salsa (or substitute fresh salsa)
3 tbs of Extra Light Olive Oil
4 Cups of Water
2 Cups of Beef Broth (or Vegetable or Chicken depending on your meat)
3/4 Cup of Pinto Beans (I used dried for the crockpot)
3/4 Cup of Kidney Beans (I used dried for the crockpot)
1/2 Cup of Black Beans (I used dried for the crockpot)
1 Corn on the Cob (cut the corn off the cob)
Seasonings to taste (Garlic powder, Onion Powder, Cumin, Paprika, Crushed Red Pepper, Oregano, and Black Pepper)

Step 1. Put ground meat into the crockpot with onion, garlic, green pepper, 2 tbs of olive oil, 1 cup of water and season (I don’t measure my seasonings- but I like to season the meat so that the flavors marinate while cooking) I turned my crockpot on high because I put my lean ground beef in frozen (you can reduce the cooking time if your meat is thawed- obviously).

Photo Jul 16, 1 31 07 PM

Photo Jul 16, 1 32 42 PM

Step 2. I added my tomato sauce, paste and diced tomatoes. I mixed the ingredients together. My ground beef was still mostly frozen, I began to break it up while mixing. I used No Salt Added, by doing this, I cut down the sodium from 220 mg per can to 20 mg per can. I also did not add any salt to my recipe- AT ALL! I very rarely cook with salt.

Photo Jul 16, 1 33 06 PM

Photo Jul 16, 1 37 17 PM

Photo Jul 16, 1 38 02 PM
Step 3. I added the beans. Then covered with water- about 3 cups. The beans have to expand because just used dried beans. (You can soak your beans overnight in water so they expand and that will cut your cooking time down several hours- I forgot to do this, and so I opted to cook this in the crockpot. You can also cook this on the stove top in a large pot.)

Photo Jul 16, 1 40 37 PM

Photo Jul 16, 1 39 45 PM

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Step 4. Add Salsa, and Broth. Mix. I was still breaking up my frozen ground beef at this time.

Photo Jul 16, 1 42 04 PM

Photo Jul 16, 1 44 01 PM

Step 5. I like a lot of flavors, so I added more oregano and pepper, as well as 1 tbs of Olive oil. I really wanted the flavors to infuse and marinate.

Photo Jul 16, 1 44 40 PM
Step 6. I cut the corn off the cob and added it. This was my first time ever using fresh corn like this, I’m super proud of myself. I’ve been staying away from canned, but have been using frozen. I could do this and just freeze the kernels as well- it would be cheaper than buying frozen corn- especially since it is in season right now.

Photo Jul 16, 1 48 43 PM

Step 7. At this point the frozen ground beef was completely broken up and cooking (30 mins prep time)

Photo Jul 16, 1 51 24 PM

Step 8. 1 hour into the cooking time, I checked on the chili and added more water (didn’t measure – at least 1 cup) because the beans were really absorbing the water, I also added some cilantro. I checked on the chili every hour (checking the tenderness of the beans) and stiring.

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Step 9. 4 hours later (after the initial hour passed)… Done! and Enjoy!

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I garnished my bowl with avocado and cilantro. You could also use light sour cream, shredded cheese or chopped onions, or all of these or none! My husband enjoyed his with crackers, and I mixed some brown rice with my son’s. This is a very versatile recipe that you can change and make your own. But we all definitely tasted the difference with the fresh ingredients.

By using dried beans instead of canned I reduced the sodium in this recipe by about 300 mg of sodium PER CAN! A total of 900+ mg of Sodium for just the beans. Add 200 for the can of corn and 220 per can of tomato product. The 1 place I didn’t reduce the sodium was the can of salsa- which was about 160mg. I didn’t have fresh, so I used the can, I think that even jarred salsa has less sodium. But Total Sodium I reduced from this recipe was 1700+ mg… THAT’S A TON OF SODIUM!!! No wonder I had instant high blood pressure after this! Just because the original recipe was labeled “Weight Watchers” It was not healthy. The amount of sodium was just outrageous in that recipe. I didn’t include the amount in the taco seasoning or the ranch seasoning because I don’t buy those and couldn’t tell you how much is in each of those- but I’m guessing at least 200 mg each. I’m sorry but SALT is NOT a SEASONING to me. Salt may enhance other flavors, but if something is mainly salt- that’s not flavorful. Also, I use Onion powder and Garlic powder – not garlic salt or onion salt- that’s again adding salt to the mix. The main message that I’m trying to get across is that you want to be in control over what you’re adding. You could easily throw this chili together with presoaked beans and defrosted meat in 45 mins. Or put everything in the crock pot while you’re at work (I’m thinking of doing this in the future- also investing in a plug in timer- so I can set a specific time to turn on and off- so it doesn’t overcook… maybe not a good idea if you have pets though).

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