(35) Spicy Sausage Chili

My need for red pepper flakes has been met!! It’s nasty and rainy here in FL today and even though it’s May, we needed some warm comfort food. My husband suggested chili so I ran with it! I found this recipe and it’s a definite keeper!!

For some reason I found myself in Food Lion (instead of my beloved Publix!) on my way home today. The stupid store only had regular (sweet) Italian turkey sausage, so I had to settle for that. To compensate, I used hot chili powder from Penzeys (I love Penzeys!!). I also used an extra 1/4 tsp of pepper flakes. The chili was spicy, but not fiery hot… It was perfect! YUM!

PS: As I typed this up, I realized I forgot the garlic! HELLO AMY?! Duh!

Spicy Sausage Chili

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Source: Cooking Light, MARCH 1998

2 cups diced onion
3/4 pound hot turkey Italian sausage, crumbled
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
2 large garlic cloves, minced

Combine diced onion and turkey sausage in a Dutch oven, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring constantly. Stir in the water and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 234 (31% from fat), Fat: 8g (sat 2.4g,mono 2.9g,poly 2.5g), Protein: 16.7g, Carbohydrate: 25.9g, Fiber: 2.9g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Iron: 3.6mg, Sodium: 628mg, Calcium: 88mg

(10) Light Italian Wedding Soup

This comes from one of those small supermarket checkout magazines. It’s Martha Stewart, so I figured it would be pretty good. It was not AWESOME, but for 250 calories, it was super filling. Next time I think I’d sautee a little garlic in after the onions are softened. I also feel like it needed a little kick (some red pepper flakes or a few shots of tabasco?). It was a little milder than I like. My husband also told me that he’d like it even better if there was some small pasta or rice in it. I agree! In another note, this was the first time I’d cooked escarole! Go figure!

Light Italian Wedding Soup

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2009
Yield: 6 servings (really, it could be 8)

EF Comments: This healthier take on a classic soup includes lots of greens and turkey meatballs.

1 lbs ground dark-meat turkey (93% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Course salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes in juice
2 heads escarole (2 lbs total), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped

1) In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Using 1 tablespoon for each, roll mixture into balls.

2) In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes (with juice); bring to a boil and simmer. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to the surface (about 5 minutes).

3) Add as much escarole to the pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through (about 5 minutes more). Thin soup with water if desired [I ended up adding almost 3 cups of water]. Season with salt and pepper. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

Per serving:
250 calories, 9.8g fat (3g sat), 23.6g protein, 19.3g carb, 4.8g fiber

(6) Triple Red Pork Stew (Ragout Pebronata)

This recipe is a Sunday afternoon kind of recipe. It was quite labor intensive and oh my word, LOTS of dirty dishes. The serving was very hearty and the pork melts in your mouth!vThe flavor was great, but I’m not sure it’s one I’d repeat just because of the time it took. I served it with pasta as suggested, but I think it would be better over polenta, mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Triple Red Pork Stew (Ragout Pebronata)

CL Comments: Red wine, red peppers, and tomatoes join in this glorious Mediterranean mélange. Pasta or polenta would be welcome accompaniments. Prepare this stew up to three days ahead, refrigerate, and reheat to serve. You can also freeze it for up to a month.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, January/February 2009
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup pasta and about 3/4 cup pork mixture)


3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into (2-inch) cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups shiraz or other hearty red wine, divided
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut in strips (about 4 1/2 cups)
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 red bell peppers, cut in thin strips
4 cups hot cooked rigatoni pasta


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; sprinkle evenly over pork. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add half of pork to pan; sauté 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove pork from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil and pork. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour to pan; sauté 1 minute or until flour browns, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return pork to pan. Stir in broth; bring to a boil.

3. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until pork crushes easily between your finger and thumb, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. Remove pork from broth mixture using a slotted spoon. Bring broth mixture to a boil over high heat; cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 15 minutes). Return pork to broth mixture, and cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

4. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until starting to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, tomatoes, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf; bring to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes or until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.

5. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until wilted, stirring frequently. Increase heat to high. Add remaining 1 cup wine, and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 7 minutes). Add tomato mixture to bell pepper mixture. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Discard parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir sauce into pork mixture, and simmer an additional 10 minutes so flavors blend. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Serve over pasta.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 543, Fat: 21.9g (sat 4.8g,mono 12g,poly 3.4g), Protein: 39.1g, Carbohydrate: 48.3g, Fiber: 5.9g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Iron: 4.7mg, Sodium: 567mg, Calcium: 65mg

(1) Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili

Well, we’re starting the new year off with a bang! Before Christmas, I had intentions to make this recipe but I just ran out of time. So instead of let the meat go to waste, I made the sausage and then put it in the freezer. That step was very handy when I decided to make this today!!

This soup had quite a kick!! If you don’t love spicy spicy stuff, cut the chipotles down to 2 instead of 3. The recipe says that it makes 6 servings at 1 3/4 cup each. I ended up with 8 servings at 2 cups each! Score! That cuts the nutritional information down to 296 cal, 8g fat, 26g protein, 30 carb, 10.5g fiber, 22mg chol, and 749mg of sodium! Much more manageable!

I served the soup with cornbread. Will definitely make this recipe again!

Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili

Yield: 6 servings (1 3/4 cup each) — I got 8 servings @ 2 cups each
Source: Cooking Light Magazine – January 2006


1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons dry red wine
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of kosher salt
3/4 pound lean ground pork
3/4 pound ground turkey breast

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onion (about 2 medium)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
4 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 cups water
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup very finely chopped cilantro, divided
Low-fat sour cream (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)


1) To prepare sausage, combine first 12 ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2) To prepare chili, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage mixture; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, and chiles; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender.

3) Place 1 1/2 cups black beans and 1 cup broth in a food processor; process until smooth. Add puréed beans, remaining beans, remaining 2 cups broth, water, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil.

4) Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 45 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in juice and cilantro. Ladle about 1 3/4 cups chili into each of 6 bowls. Garnish each serving with sour cream and sliced green onions, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Calories:395 (27% from fat), Fat: 11g (sat 2.9g,mono 6g,poly 2.1g), Protein: 35.3g, Carbohydrate: 40.4g, Fiber: 13.7g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Iron: 6mg, Sodium: 989mg, Calcium: 128mg

Tortilla Soup

I feel like I’m on a never-ending quest for quick, easy, and healthy meals! I subscribe to 648 million magazines – 95% of which are food related. I read them or shuffle through them and then they go in this big basket in the kitchen. So my new year’s resolution this year is going to be to sort through them and actually COOK from them! I’ve started a bit before 2009 and am starting with this winner from Eating Well Magazine’s September/October 2008 issue.

This recipe fit all 3 of my needs – it was quick, easy, and healthy! AND it was darn tasty!! The chicken thigh is normally not part of my repertoire, but it was perfect in this soup – so tender! My peppers had a little kick to them, but that’s ok because we like it a little spicy. I suspect I didn’t do a good enough job getting the seeds out, but oh well! I served this soup with little mini cheese quesadillas that I made with the extra corn tortillas and cheese that I had! YUM!

Source: Eating Well Magazine
Yield: 6 servings (about 1 1/3 cup each)


8 corn tortillas, halved and thinly sliced
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 Anaheim or poblano peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (see Tip)
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Spread tortilla strips in an even layer on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake until browned and crispy, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add peppers and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chicken, broth, tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice. Serve each portion topped with some of the baked tortilla strips, Cheddar and cilantro.

Tip: To trim boneless, skinless chicken thighs, we like to use kitchen shears to snip the fat away from the meat.

Nutrition Information
Per serving: 288 calories; 12 g fat (4 g sat, 4 g mono); 56 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 20 g protein; 5 g fiber; 483 mg sodium; 404 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (40% daily value), Iron (15% dv).
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 fat

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