A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WIAW #31 – Chicken 3 Bean Pumpkin Chili in a Hurry

Life comes at you fast. It won't sit around waiting for you to catch up, it keeps moving whether you’re ready or not.  So what’s a health-minded individual like me supposed to do when they refuse to eat meals they didn't prepare but demand full flavored nutrition while living a fairly busy life?  Simple….make big batches of healthy meals to have over several day; something like....veggie-filled chili!

I'd love to have more time to share my thoughts and kitchen adventures (lackluster as of late) with all of you WIAW-er’s, but I must be selective and post just the “goods” like a hearty pumpkin chili you can make in 30 minutes (recipe at end of this post).  Because, sometimes we need to get out of the kitchen and spend time with loved ones (my wife, Kelley) before the race car of life laps us!

Don't let life lap you, show it who's boss like this.....
.....no more lapping!!

Why so focused on the speed of life?  Because I've been taking too much time in the kitchen along with working and exercising too much and not reserving time for what matters most, my family; specifically Kelley. Yes, my wife, if you're reading this, I love you! Oh, and hi too!

This chili is quick to put together and can be made vegetarian by adding more beans or even lentils, or make it extra meaty with more meat. I like to create a good balance of both proteins and always load it with veggies.  Canned pumpkin and chili beans along with thick sliced chicken deli meat are the components that bring this dish together fast without sacrificing flavor. If you have the time, use ground beef, chicken, or turkey as desired; or add chicken breasts to a crock-pot and shred after cooking for several hours.  The possibilities are plentiful!

Like that? Plentiful; not endless like most people say.  I like to be different.
Note to self: Take digital photography lessons!!

Other than this savory pumpkin chili, I was able to make a few treats this weekend that I'll go into detail about on a future post. A lot of my time is spent trying to make healthy treats that are ready for me to eat when I finally sit down at night.  This includes a lot of bean and veggie “dessert” purees with stevia, peanut flour, protein powders, etc. I usually don't measure ingredients, but just add a little at a time until it just seems “right”. 

In lieu of spending time making this unmeasured mixes, I am going to try other healthy alternatives. Using gelatin or agar agar for protein puddings is my new plan; I just need to actually get the measurements straight. Have you ever used unflavored gelatin, agar, or another gelling agent for homemade pudding?  Katie from Chocolate Covered Katie has a delicious and easy soy free pudding I'd like to try. I’ll report back once I've had a few test runs.  Geez, I have a lot of “I-O-U’s” to deliver on, but I'm good for them; trust me. : )

So, in the essence of time, I'd like to thank Jenn at Peasand Crayons for hosting this fun event as usual. Here’s a look at not really a day of eats, but just notable eats I’ve photographed recently.  Enjoy and Happy What I Ate Wednesday!!

Oversized pumpkin omelette on top of steamed veggies with pumpkin spice coffee. 

Low fat Peanut Butter Pumpkin Protein Cookies - new recipe in the works, but these are pretty tasty. Seriously, I need to A) measure ingredients and B) write them down!! 

My 3 Bean Chicken Pumpkin Chili....with two random brussels sprouts I felt compelled to add.

Loving this combo! Microwave protein bread slices with coconut butter and peanut butter. Great snack or even a quick mini-meal if needed!

Steamed veggies with tuna and spaghetti squash. Could probably eat this all day.....after I run out of the above picture.

We had a cold front in Texas when I made the chili, but now it’s back in the 80’s as I’m having it for lunch at work.  Still awesome and I have no regrets, but there’s just something about the cold weather with a warm bowl of chili….it’s more comforting.  Do you agree?

Chicken 3 Bean Pumpkin Chili

by RC Liley
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 35 min
Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 1 (15oz) can drained and rinsed chili beans; black, kidney, or any white bean will work too
  • 1/2 lb thick sliced chicken deli meat, chopped into 1/2in. squares
  • Frozen cut green beans; or one can drained - 12 to 15 oz
  • Frozen, fresh or canned carrots - 12 to 15 oz
  • Frozen or canned sweet peas - 12 to 15 oz
  • Frozen chopped broccoli - 12 to 15 oz
  • Bag of frozen diced green peppers, onions, and celery mix; or fresh
  • 4 – 6 cloves fresh garlic; I love garlic, use less if you don’t
  • 1 T each of cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, dried parsley, and paprika
  • 2 t dried thyme and coriander
  • 1 t cayenne powder and cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 26.4 oz box of Pomi Chopped tomatoes; 2 (15oz) cans of diced/chopped will work too
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
Heat a nonstick medium to large saucepan over medium-high heat
Add garlic and frozen pepper/onion mix; sweat for 1 minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant
Add chopped deli meat and saute for another minute; the edges should be slightly curled up
Add vinegar and scrape any burned pieces from the bottom
Pour in the stock and tomatoes
Add remaining ingredients then cover and simmer for 30 minutes
If it looks too runny, crack lid and let reduce down to desired consistency
Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes
Transfer to bowls and relax with your quick'n healthy pumpkin chili
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As for spooky snacks....I don't have any to share, unless you are scared by my food.  I want to make something to share, but won't make any promise on this one.  Speaking of, Kelley and I want to hand out treats for Halloween but do not support about 99% of the candy options out there. Any ideas on a good alternative that kids would like but is still at least somewhat healthy?

I don't want to be "that guy" who gives out toothbrushes or worse....pamphlets on how to avoid childhood obesity, but I'm not sure of what to give. Maybe little bags of dry roasted peanuts or Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses? Do you hand out candy or turn off the lights, shut the blinds, and lock the doors?

Have a wonderful week!


  1. When I was little and trick-or-treating, I had people give me ginormous apples, bags of pretzels, and even stickers/tattoos. I was always happy with whatever I got!

    I haven't had spaghetti squash in awhile, but that combo with tuna sounds good. I think I've done that before... Haha. But like I said, it's been awhile! :)

    Totally random question about the chili. Have you ever made/had a chili without tomatoes before? I've been trying to find a recipe that I can eat (because of my allergy to tomatoes) but so far no luck. I FEEL like I have seen a tomato-less chili recipe somewhere before. Maybe I'm just crazy?! :D

    1. Same here with the trick-or-treating thing; at least I never complained! People are giving things they don't have to....period.

      You should definitely have the spag squash combo again, soon! I think it's even better with some sauteed shrimp or scallops and cilantro and cumin. But it's good without anything too!

      Good question, makes me wonder what constitutes a meal being called "chili" as opposed to stew or puree. I think if you puree steamed carrots and red bell pepper for the "red" effect and add all of the other chili ingredients, that would come out, dare I say, better than chili! Kinda makes me want to try, hope you do too.

      Here's a link to a bean and veggie puree I posted a while back, you could make this and puree or leave as is, it's great either way. Please let me know if you try and how you like! http://justaddcayenne.blogspot.com/p/recipes.html?recipe_id=6025928

  2. Hey RC- we hand out little boxes of rasins- the kids always seem happy with those. They're healthy but fun as they come in mini boxes, very cute :)

    1. Thank you, Ellie! I think that I'm going to do this too. Such a great idea and something most kids like anyway! Awesome!

  3. Love tuna & veggies over spaghetti squash. Seriously one of the easiest and best meals!!

    1. Yep, don't think I'll ever get tired of that combo. Have you tried mixing a good salsa into everything? Simple, delicious, healthy, and like you said....easy! Thanks for visiting!

  4. that squash looks fab! I am pinning this pumpkin chili!

    1. Thank you, Christy, wish I got a better pic of the chili, but I was rushing at that point. But make no mistake, it is pure comfort food. Think I'll make again in the slow-cooker with shredded chicken this weekend. Maybe with a better pic.

      Have a great week!

  5. Haha, wow! Have you really been eating that much pumpkin??! The chili sounds delicious, but that protein bread is what really caught my eye! Is there a link for it here?

    1. Yeah, I like all winter squash, and I have 2 cases of the organic Farmer's Market canned pumpkin from Amazon....so I have it a lot!

      Both the chili and bread is awesome, and yes, here is a link for the bread recipe.... http://justaddcayenne.blogspot.com/2012/07/microwave-protein-cinnamon-bread.html

      Please make it and let me know how it turns out!