Tag Archives: black beans

Big Pot o’ Chili

Savory, hot chili – make it as spicy or as mild as you like. This one bulks up the veggies and uses turkey and very lean ground beef so it comes in at a low calorie count for a good sized portion. For 400 calories you can have a huge portion ! Try making this the next time you have a football party.

All the different tomato products used in this recipe have their own unique flavor and the combination of them is just perfect. But if you don’t particularly like one or another, feel free to substitute.

Cook this stovetop for hours to get that deep, rich, long simmer flavor – or you can cook this in the crock pot all day long while you are at work. Chili also does well in a pressure cooker. If you need instructions, just write to me and I’ll be happy to send you info.

Big Pot o' Chili
Big Pot o' Chili

20 servings
210 calories per serving

2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
20 oz. lean ground turkey
16 oz. very lean ground beef
5 ribs of celery, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 t minced garlic
10 oz. mushrooms, chopped
15.5 oz. can chick peas, rinsed and drained
15.5 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
15.5 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 15.75 oz. cans Campbells Pork and Beans (this addition really mellows out the tomato base)
28 oz. petite diced tomatoes
14.5 oz. fired roasted diced tomatoes
14.5 oz. stewed tomatoes
3 oz. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (if you don’t like heat, remove this ingredient. If you like it very spicy, add more of this ingredient)
29 oz. tomato sauce
1 T salt
1 T pepper
2 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
5 T chili powder
3 t cumin
2 t basil flakes
2 t parsley flakes
3 t oregano flakes

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large dutch oven or soup pot. Saute onions, celery and green pepper and yellow pepper 15 minutes. Add the turkey and beef and continue cooking until meat is done. Be sure to break up meat into little pieces as it cooks. (if cooking in a crock pot, do this first step stove top in a skillet and then turn it all into a heated crock) Add garlic and mushrooms and stir. Add all spices and mix well. Bring to a boil them lower and simmer for 2-3 hours on a low heat. Stir occasionally and adjust spice during the last half hour of cooking. (if cooking in a crock pot, cook on low 8-10 hours or high 5-6 hours)

The leftovers freeze well – so don’t be afraid of the huge serving size. You can also cut this in half and make 10 servings – just halve everything. Serve with low fat sour cream and low fat shredded cheddar as a garnish / topping.

Southwest Ranch Salad

This is simple to make and you can even pack it up to go as it travels well. All the southwest flavors mingle nicely and it’s a refreshing lunch salad. If you don’t like Ranch dressing, substitute any other low fat or no fat dressing.

Southwest Ranch Salad
Southwest Ranch Salad

4 servings
380 calories per serving

4 c mixed salad greens
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz. frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 large red pepper, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 c low fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ c low fat ranch dressing
2 T cilantro, chopped

Arrange greens on plates and top with beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes and cheese. Top with dressing and cilantro.

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

These cook up quick and are just as good as any restaurant fajitas ! Without all the oil that restaurants use for extra flavor, these come in at only 250 calories per serving including the wrap 🙂

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

6 servings
250 calories per serving

1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (Perdue Shortcuts work great here !)
3/4 c sliced onions
¾ c sliced green bell peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t cumin
½ c salsa verde (or plain salsa works here too)
½ c black beans, drained and rinsed
6 whole wheat tortillas (fajita size)
1 ½ c shredded low fat cheddar cheese

Spray a skillet with Pam and cook onions and peppers 10 minutes (add hot water a tablespoon at a time if the onions start to dry out). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix then add chicken and cumin and cook another 5 minutes or until chicken is almost done (if you are using Perdue Shortcuts, cook just enough to warm chicken). Add salsa and beans and cook another 3 minutes.

Spoon mix onto one half of each wrap and sprinkle with cheese and fold. Spray a skillet with Pam and cook quesadillas a couple of minutes each side to brown them.

Here is a video that will show you how to fold up a fajita securely

Optionally serve with a bit of no fat sour cream on each.

Tex Mex Cobb

Chop up all your veggies and fixings and lay them out on a platter in rows. It’s a beautiful presentation and everyone can grab exactly what they want for their salad. The dressing for this one is so simple and so low cal, but it tastes divine !

Tex Mex Cobb
Tex Mex Cobb

10 servings
291 calories per serving

20 oz. mixed greens (Spring mix, baby greens, etc.)
12 oz. seasoned chicken breast strips (Perdue Shortcuts work great here)
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c low fat shredded cheese
12 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 small avocados, sliced
2 c grape tomatoes, halved
2 ribs of celery, sliced
2/3 c fat free ranch dressing
1/3 cup chunky salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

Over a large platter with the greens then arrange chicken, eggs, beans, cheese, bacon, avocados and tomatoes in rows and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the salsa and dressing and pour over platter.

Rice and Beans

Can you say YUMMY?!?!?! This is such a great QUICK and EASY recipe, yet the results taste like you’ve been in the kitchen for hours. This is an ample serving. You could easily just have half a serving for a side and still have room in your calories for some fish or chicken on the side.

Rice and Beans
Rice and Beans

4 servings
400 calories per serving

1 ½ c chopped green peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T oil
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ¼ c water
2 c Minute brown rice
¼ c cilantro chopped
1 c low far shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby or Monterey Jack)

In a large skillet on high heat, heat the oil and cook the peppers and garlic 2 minutes then add tomatoes, beans and water. Bring to a boil and stir in rice and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes then remove from heat and stir in cilantro and top with cheese. Let stand 5 minutes, covered.

Sofrito Beans

Sofrito is filled with just incredible spices – when you add that and bacon to beans, there is nothing better ! The creamy texture of the beans mixed with the spicy sofrito is just perfect.

Sofrito Beans
Sofrito Beans

8 servings
290 calories per serving

2 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained
6 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 c sofrito sauce (In the Mexican section at your grocer)

Cook bacon then add beans along with sofrito and cook 15 minutes.

Empanapita from the Keep the Beat ™ cookbook from the National Institutes for Health We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) Campaign

Check out the online cookbook, Keep the Beat ™ (available in pdf format) for some great ideas for healthful food that kids will eat and they will enjoy preparing with you. Kids learn by example – show them how good healthy food can be !!!

This is a great combination of an empanada and a pita – the recipe is fun to make and is a great healthy alternative to traditionally fried empanadas. You can easily change this up and use leftover pork or turkey instead. And you can even make it a bit more authentic by adding some sofrito to the mix. This was a great meal !


4 servings
373 calories per serving

2 6½-inch whole wheat pitas
1 c Tangy Salsa (see recipe below – or you can sub a store bought salsa)

For filling:
2 c canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed
2 c frozen broccoli, corn, and pepper vegetable mix, thawed
2 c grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced (Perdue Shortcuts work great here !)
½ c shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ c sofrito tomato cooking base (in the Goya section of your market) – optional
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T scallions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

For Tangy Salsa (22 calories per serving):
½ c jarred roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
½ c no-salt-added diced tomatoes (or substitute 1 medium tomato, chopped)
1 small lime, peeled and cut into small chunks
¼ t ground black pepper
¼ t ground cumin
1 T fresh cilantro, rinsed and chopped

Tangy Salsa
Tangy Salsa

Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Combine beans, vegetables, chicken, cheese, sofrito and seasonings. Mix well.
Cut pitas in half, and open the pockets. Divide filling evenly between the four and place on a nonstick baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes until the filling is hot, cheese melts, and chicken is reheated. You can make these a bit ahead of time and heat when ready – this makes it a great recipe for when you are having guests.

For salsa, combine all ingredients and toss well (it is best if you make this ahead and let sit an hour or 20 so let the flavors mingle). Serve each empanapita with ¼ cup of Tangy Salsa.

Don’t skimp on the salsa – it really makes the meal ! I added ¼ c lime juice, 1 T sliced scallions, salt and pepper and omitted the roasted red peppers. The lime pieces add such a nice fresh flavor !!

Couscous Salad

This salad uses Israeli couscous which is a bigger grain and is more like a piece of orzo in size than a piece of pastina. This makes for a heartier couscous suitable for all type of salads. This on is particularly good !

Couscous Salad
Couscous Salad

5 servings
346 calories per serving

2 T oil
1 c Israeli couscous
1 ½ c water
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
½ lb sliced mushrooms
4 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
1 ¼ c frozen corn, thawed
15/5 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 T lime juice
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced

Heat 1 T oil and add couscous. Stir until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Then add water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Heat 2 t oil in a skillet and cook mushrooms until brown, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and move to a bowl. Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan and cool scallion whites with corn about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add to the mushrooms. Add couscous, black beans, lime juice, jalapeno and scallion greens to the mushroom mix, season with salt and pepper and divide into bowls. Top with avocado slices.

Ham and Bean Soup

A simple and hearty soup that tastes delicious. It’s a very versatile recipe – add some veggies, small pasta or extra spices to easily change it up. But don’t skip the ham – that is what really give it the great flavor 🙂

Ham and Bean Soup
Ham and Bean Soup

6 servings
273 calories per serving

15.5 oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 c fat free chicken broth
1 1/2 c diced extra lean ham (you can also use Canadian bacon)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t chili powder
¼ t pepper
¼ t salt
½ t onion powder

Combine all and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook 15 – 20 minutes or until soup is slightly thickened.

South of the Border Chicken

This is one of those PERFECT meals. Some meals are just spiced perfectly, cook up perfectly time and time again, and deserve a place in the Hall of Fame of recipes – this is one of those. If you love Mexican inspired dishes, you have to give this one a try !

South of the Border Chicken
South of the Border Chicken

4 servings
289 calories per serving

12 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ t pepper
¼ t salt
2 t oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c fat free beef broth
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 4.5 oz. can chopped chilies
1 t chili powder
½ t ground cumin
3 c hot cooked rice

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place in a hot skillet sprayed with Pam. Cook 5 minutes or until they begin to brown then set aside and keep warm. Heat oil and add onion, garlic and 2 T of the broth. Cook 6 minutes or until tender then add tomato sauce, beans and the rest of the broth and mix well. Add the pepper, chili powder, cumin and chicken and bring to a boil the reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Serve over rice.

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