I don’t eat healthy unless it first and foremost tastes great. I will not choke down dry bread just because it’s laden with nuts, seeds and whole grains. I refuse to gulp a green smoothie that tastes more of compost than fresh fruit. Maybe in the past I would have but I’ve tasted too much great food to waste my time just eating for the sake of eating healthy.
If, however, food is full of flavor, complexity, AND it’s good for me – well then great, that’s an added bonus.

This doesn’t mean I spend my days eating Cheetos and Snack packs. Luckily I find vegetables extremely delicious and whole grains taste nutty and much more interesting than their refined twin.

When I am in a season of trying to shape up a bit – i.e. now – I will often focus on reducing portion sizes rather than going through extreme diet changes. Not allowing myself to enjoy some of my favorite treats makes me pretty sad and quite moody. That on top of the fact that we Seattle-ites don’t see much of the sun these days – I need as much happy as I can get. So I reduce rather than refrain.


UNLESS I find a recipe that is good for my soft, post-baby body and it tastes amazing then I allow myself to go crazy. Like this Chicken chili which is packed full of nutrient-dense vegetables and the perfect amount of spicy heat. It’s easy to throw together and makes a hefty amount so your set for a few healthful lunches too.

I do, however, have to watch out for the amount of cornbread I consume with my chili.

This recipe originally came from lovely Ina Garten. I’ve since made it many times and have adapted it to suit us quite nicely. Healthy AND delicious. Perfect.


Chicken Chili
inspired by Ina Garten

2 large yellow onions, medium dice

2 Tbl butter

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

2 15 oz cans black beans

1/4 cup minced cilantro stems

3 cups chicken cooked, shredded

To serve: Cilantro, sour cream

Cook the onions in the butter over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and their juice to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked chicken, black beans and cilantro stems to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the cilantro and sour cream (light if your really trying to be good).

This is the cornbread I use (recipe from Food Gal). We used to eat this for “family meal” during my Spago days. There is nothing like it. Perfectly sweet, great texture and generously “glazed” with butter and honey.


26 Responses to “chicken chili”

  1. Kasey

    It’s great to see you have such a normal/healthy approach to eat! It’s something so many people struggle with. I don’t believe in diets or giving up foods I love forever. I, too, am lucky that I love fruits and veggies, but I will not say no to carbs and dessert 🙂

  2. MG Atwood

    MMMM sounds tasty! I usually put white beans in, but guess I could do without the extra carbs…I’ll have to try this later in the week…oh and the post baby bod, looks anything but soft! 🙂

  3. Carolyn Jung

    I’m glad you’re a fan of that cornbread recipe as much as I am. It is pretty darn irresistible. And your chicken chili looks like the perfect accompaniment.

  4. mixette

    I made both of these tonight! The chili is incredibly yummy – hearty and filling but it still has a nice bright flavor. I used nonfat greek yogurt instead of sour cream so that makes up for the totally decadent (and delish) cornbread, right 😉

  5. Maggie R.

    A healthy attitude towards food is such a welcome thing to read. I appreciate your honesty–it cheers me up just like this chili will!

  6. Amy Baron

    I LOVE this chilli! I made it with ground turkey last time (its what I had) and it was still really good. And what a beautiful tea towel in the background 😉

  7. joey

    I agree completely…I eat for the taste as well and won’t eat something just because it’s healthy. Thank goodness I also love vegetables and grains (although I do love a lot of less than healthy things too like bacon)! Another we love in my household is chili so this is just perfect! Thanks you for sharing it 🙂

    Your daughter and her lovely coat are gorgeous! 🙂

  8. Katrina

    This chili looks like comfort food to the max! My mom used to make an awesome chicken chili, and your looks really similar!

  9. Trisha Baron

    I made the chicken chili the other night (minus the cilantro per Brant’s request) and we loved it! Delicious! He’s still talking about how good it was, and he’s usually not a big fan of Chili. Thanks so much Ashley!

  10. Deena

    I want to try this chicken chili recipe… That looks so appetizing. It looks absolutely delicious and irresistible. I really have to buy all those ingredients as soon as possible and try the recipe at home. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  11. Pamela

    I love your site…I’ve been making baguettes every day for the last 4 days now. And I just made this Chicken Chili for lunch and instead of corn bread we just used freshly made corn tortillas. Delicious – thanks so much!

  12. Christina

    This recipe and the attitude of this post was *just* what I needed.

    Also – ah-greed re: Seattle lack of sun. If the weather’s going to be gloomy, my plate sure can’t be 🙂

  13. Jackie

    You don’t have chicken on your ingredients list? What kind of chicken? How much chicken? How is it supposed to be cooked? Come on.


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