Chili is a ultimate cold weather comfort food, this recipe for Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes has a healthy twist. The inspiration was sparked by the Linn County Heritage Agency to do demonstrations for the Lynn County Seniors Centers. The extremely cold weather triggers thoughts of the ultimate comfort food for cold weather, instantly Chili came to mind. Chili can often be loaded with excess calories that are totally empty in nutritional value. With this consideration in mind along with Weight Watchers new Freedom Style set me into motion.
The first thing that came to mind is the types of proteins that can be use in Chili recipes. The core part of this recipe is a vegetarian based, using dried beans or canned beans. These beans are healthy, and using the right ones have zero Weight Watchers Smart Points. Going back to basics by using dried red beans like red kidney beans would be a good starting point. Canned beans have less then desired flavor profile that’s filled with extra salt and processed flavors. Cooking dried beans is simple task, by just using water or homemade stock. Adding to the dried red kidney beans, bay leaf, chopped onion, and chili powder will boost the flavors and keep calories down and achieving zero Weight Watcher Smart Points. Of course this takes extra time to make a batch of chili but it’s worth the extra effort to achieve the maximum flavor profile. When time is a issue or just don’t like to cook, canned beans will work. To Solve the time constraints by using Insta pot or Power XL electric pressure cooker saves good 2 hours of cooking time. By cooking the whole vegetarian chili in the electric pressure cooker in about 30 minutes with the power of steam.
Next consideration is in using creative healthy proteins, by adding turkey quinoa meatballs into the chili. Using lean ground turkey, in my past cooking experiences with extra lean 99% ground turkey ends up very dry tasting. But the 93% Lean turkey has just enough fat to have a nice moist flavor profile. Sadly 93% ground turkey is not Zero Points Weight, but is well worth the extra 1 point per ounce of turkey.
Remembering well using TVP in 70’s as additive and binder to extending proteins. This brought to mind the idea of using Quinoa as the extender rather then horrible TVP of 70’s. A trick learned is to soak and rinse off Quinoa with cold water. This extra step removes some of the bitter oils on the exterior of Quinoa. These combinations of the lean ground turkey and quinoa is a added great protein added source to chili. But just combining quinoa to lean ground turkey results in bland tasting combination. The simple solution is to add a package of taco seasoning to the mixture. Taco seasoning is Weight Watchers Zero Points and really boost the flavors of the turkey quinoa.
To get nice rounded mini scoops of turkey quinoa into meatballs by using a teaspoon measure. By dipping the teaspoon measure in hot water before scooping each meat ball provide easy scoops of meatball that came off the spoon without a struggle. Then browning meatballs in non-stick skillet sprayed lightly with oil over medium high heat. Be sure to shake the skillet a few times through cooking process, to produce evenly browning meatballs with little effort, in about 10 minutes.
By adding extra garnishes to the chili can improve nutritional values, my first thought was using sweet potatoes shell as container for chili and add some of sweet potatoes topping the chili. Using this technique gives the chili extra sweetness and a more hearty comforting food. The downside of this is adding calories and more Weight Watcher Smart Points. With the colder weather, the extra nutritional value of sweet potatoes, giving everyone more energy from sweet potatoes is a good trade off. The bonus is a wonderful garnished look rather then just a simple bowl of chili.
As thoughts come streaming into play, why not try using tater tots rather then sweet potatoes, less sweetness and everyone loves tater tots. The results was wonderful, not as sweet, a little more savory and oh so very tasty. The downside is extra Weight Watcher Smart Points and really no nutritional value like sweet potatoes. Still really nice way to change up chili in new ways.
So this is nutritional value for Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Time to change things up a little try something different and enjoy! Be creative experiment a little that’s the fun of cooking and enjoying.