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Start The Year Right with Hearty, Healthy Chili

Comfort In A Bowl!

Out with the old and in with the new? Not so fast! Instead, why not resolve to honor the old in new ways? Growing up, January was known as “Soup Month” in my family. Easy on the wallet AND on the waistline, pots of bubbling soup were a practical way to feed a hungry family through the winter.

As an adult, I still find myself craving the warmth and comfort that comes from homemade broths and soups. And with a recipe box open to the world, we have started a new January tradition… Chili! All the comfort of homemade soup, but with exotic spices and incomparable heartiness.

Our spicy, modern spin on “Soup Month” began when we first met Bonnie Roberts’ White Chili and Cornbread Bake. In addition to being used as a thickener in the chili, cornbread gets baked right atop Bonnie’s dish. The result is two delicious treats in one recipe!

“I made this chili for our chili cook-off at work and it won a prize for most original. It’s got a sweet taste that’s really intriguing.”

I swear, my pocketbook breathes a sigh of relief every time I make this recipe. Use leftover pork chops, canned beans and pre-packaged cornbread mix for a super thrifty – and fast – crowd-pleasing meal.

It’s chicken chili that tops Tamra Miller’s family request list.

“I have always made my chili verde with pork, but my family loves chicken,” says Tamra, a home cook living in Fresno, CA. “So after a hard week at work, I came home and decided to take out my frustrations on the cutting board; cooking has always been a de-stresser for me.”

With ingredients she had on hand, Tamra whipped up a twist to a traditional recipe and her Chicken Chili Verde was born!

“I put it over corn chips and cheese, and the teenagers loved it just as much as the adults. It has that wonderful [tomatillo] flavor… with a wonderful little bite of heat in the back. I hope you give it a try, and add or take away as your tastebuds see fit.”

And with four types of chilis and a hefty amount of cumin, this recipe has plenty of ingredient wiggle-room for catering to both those who like it spicier and those who like to walk on the more mild side.

Looking for something a little lighter? Swap out the meat for beans and fresh veggies! Vegan home cook Tasha Kaye is taking all the fear out of veggie-friendly cooking. And in so doing, she’s adding in tons of flavor! Her special chili recipe is as simple as can be, but the result is addictively delicious. Start with a great base of spiced stewed tomatoes, add in pinto, kidney and black beans, then finish with onion, jalapenos and sweet red peppers! It’s an incredibly healthful way to enjoy classic chili flavors, and the addition of peppers adds a colorful crunch. It’s a perfect pick for your next potluck or game night since folks won’t even miss the meat!

Whether you’re celebrating the start of “Soup Month,” wanting to conserve pennies, or looking for something tasty for the big game, chili has got your number. Toss open some chili powder and spice things up tonight… Winter has never been cooler!