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Keep chili on hand for chilly days

POSTED: February 21, 2014 11:30 a.m.
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Traditionally for chilly weather, good chili can be enjoyed any time.

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The recent chilly weather has given me a perfect excuse to break out all my soup, stew and chili recipes. For the record, I am a soup fanatic. I can eat soup with every meal all year round — I love it that much. However, my husband and children don’t always feel the same way, and I believe that they’d like winter to end as soon as possible.
With spring on the way, I know my soup days are limited. So when temperatures plummet, I’m thrilled with the opportunity to whip up a nice, steaming batch of comfort food. Since the weather lately has been up, down and rather unpredictable, I keep the ingredients for a good soup or stew on hand at all times — just in case.
I have a tendency to make a lot of chicken- and turkey-based soup recipes, but when I want to mix things up a little, I gravitate toward chili.
I recently came across a great recipe a friend once shared with me for simple Paleo-inspired chili. Paleo — specifically, the Paleo diet — in a nutshell, means recipes that are derived from all-natural ingredients that our caveman ancestors would have had access to. Basically, it means eating only meat and vegetables without using any salt, carbs or beans.
The Paleo diet is much more complicated than that and has levels of strictness as well. This recipe uses a variety of spices that cavemen wouldn’t have had access to, so it isn’t a true Paleo recipe, but it is healthy and pretty tasty.
I altered the recipe to make it my own by increasing the servings to feed a family of six. This recipe is intended to cook slowly in a Crock-Pot for the best taste, but it can be made on the stovetop just as easily.
Additionally, ground turkey, ground beef or ground bison can be used. Ground turkey is a healthier option, but the finished texture will be a little different than if you had used red meat.
The sweet potatoes in the dish really make it for me. I was skeptical at first, unsure of how the flavors would mesh together, but I was hooked after the first spoonful. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, iron and magnesium, making them a great, healthy addition to the chili. I have found that organic sweet potatoes are much more flavorful than non-organically grown tubers, and I suggest you give them a try in this dish.
If you are making chili on the stovetop and want to speed your cooking time, pop the sweet-potato cubes into the microwave and precook them for 5 minutes. Otherwise, they take quite a while to cook through.

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