Friday, August 12, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Chili and a Giveaway (for TWO)!

I don't know about you, but even though I'm a fan of things like butter, I'm often looking for ways to cut down the calories (and guilt) without completely sacrificing flavors in the foods I love. When the folks over at Joy Bauer's office contacted me and asked if I wanted to check out a couple of her books, and also give away several copies to my readers, I thought it would be a great way to take a walk on the healthier side. You may recognize Joy as the Nutritionist for The Today Show. She has several books under her belt, a couple of which I've had the pleasure of receiving.

The first is called Food Cures and discusses various health problems and how they can be aided by a diet adjustment. Those suffering from ailments such as migraines, arthritis, insomnia, and even bad skin can study Joy's 4 Step Program for using natural dietetic methods to get results. The book is not a cookbook, but does include lots of shopping lists (and foods to avoid) as well as some recipes in each of the chapters. I consider this book more of a reference than one you may read from cover to cover. As someone who avoids medications whenever possible, I really love the idea of using food instead to try and cure (or at least alleviate) some symptoms of common health problems.

The second book I received was Joy's Slim and Scrumptious, a cookbook containing more than 75 healthy family meals, complete with nutritional information. Joy isn't a trained chef, but she offers healthy variations to many popular dishes (like macaroni and cheese and even eggs Benedict) as well as some really fun and less traditional recipes! My favorite (and I'm definitely not alone in this) is her Buffalo Chicken Chili. I used ground turkey because it was more accessible. The only changes I made were that instead of cooking spray, I used a drizzle of olive oil (in a non-stick pot) which worked out just fine. I also added more salt (it really needed it, let's not kid ourselves), and doubled the topping recipe, for which I used low-fat, not nonfat, sour cream. I also can safely say that I think you can comfortably get 6 servings out of this recipe (we did), even though it accounts for only 4. Given that, each serving would be even healthier, so no guilt about the extra topping ;-)

Before we get to the giveaway, I just want to address a really sad item in recent news. No, I'm not talking about the London riots. I've referring to the famine and drought in Africa. As you throw away those week-old leftovers, please think of those in need. More than 29,000 children have died in the past few months because of this ongoing tragedy. Please consider making a donation to help those suffering. It will help fill their stomachs and feed your soul...

Now for the giveaway... 2 lucky readers will each with a copy of Joy Bauer's Food Cures AND her Slim and Scrumptious cookbook. That's right, there will be not 1, but 2 winners, and each will get 2 books! To enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment telling me what you like to do to (at least try to) live a healthier lifestyle. Mine is moderation. I find that I can't cut out the things I love, but I figure if I eat them less often, or in smaller portions, I don't feel so bad about indulging. I could offer more chances to win if you stalk me, but the truth is if you like my blog you should subscribe to it, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, etc anyway. I shouldn't have to bribe you, should I? The giveaway will end in 1 week (8/19 at 11:59pm) and I will select 2 winners randomly. Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. US residents only, please. Good luck!

Buffalo Chicken Chili
Serves 4 (serving size: 2 1/4 cups with topping)
(Adapted from Slim & Scrumptious)

Oil spray, as needed (I actually used a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil instead)
6 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into half-moons
6 stalks celery, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs ground chicken (or turkey) breast (99% lean)
2 T. chili powder
2 T. all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or tomato juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce
Kosher salt
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

Liberally coat a large pot (non-stick would be good here) or Dutch oven with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.

Add the carrots and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes; add water, a tablespoon at a time, as necessary to prevent scorching.

Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the ground chicken, reapplying oil spray if necessary. Saute, stirring continuously and breaking the chicken into small pieces for 5 minutes or until cooked through. As the chicken cooks, continue scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any large bits.

Sprinkle in the chili powder and flour, and stir quickly to distribute them evenly. Immediately add the vegetable juice, hot sauce, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

While the chili is simmering, prepare the blue cheese topping. In a small bowl mash together the sour cream and blue cheese with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

Taste and adjust seasoning for the chili. Ladle the chili into serving bowls and top each with the blue cheese topping.

Nutrition information: calories-369, protein-53 g, carbohydrate-33 g, total fat-4 g, saturated fat-1 g, cholesterol-135 mg, fiber-7 g, sodium-665 g (using only 1/4 tsp. salt... I thought it needed more, though)


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