Chili con Carne

chili con carne

High in fiber, protein and vitamins A and C, chili is an all-American family favorite. Pair it with our Honey Corn Bread (recipe at bottom) and you’ll see smiles all around the dinner table!

Careful Preparation is Key

While nutritious and economical, a serving can be loaded with calories, salt and fat if one is not careful in its preparation.

For a healthier chili without losing that wonderful flavor:

  • Choose lean 93 percent fat-free ground beef or turkey. Four ounces of 93 percent fat free ground beef or turkey, compared to 80/20 ground beef (80 percent fat-free and 20 percent fat), has 100 fewer calories. And only 8 grams of fat versus 21 grams of fat in 80/20.
  • Draining and rinsing the kidney beans makes a huge difference in sodium per serving. One cup of kidney beans has 873 milligrams of sodium. When drained and rinsed, one cup of kidney beans has 200 milligrams of sodium. That’s a 673 milligram difference.
  • Buy no-salt canned tomatoes. One cup of regular canned tomatoes has 307 milligrams of sodium while one cup with no salt added has 24 milligrams. Need we say more?


  • 1 pound lean (93 percent fat free) ground beef or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped into one-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green pepper, seeds removed and chopped into one-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped into one-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2, 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed with water
  • 1, 28-ounce can no-salt tomatoes, diced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder


  1. In large saucepan, sauté ground beef until slightly browned, stirring frequently. Add a little olive oil if meat sticks to pan.
  2. Remove meat from saucepan and drain off any fat.
  3. Wipe same saucepan with paper towel and return to stovetop. Add olive oil, onion, celery, green pepper, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
  4. Sauté several minutes until tender.
  5. Add garlic and sauté one more minute.
  6. Drain kidney beans in colander and rinse with water. Discard kidney bean liquid.
  7. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and chili powder to vegetables in saucepan.
  8. Stir and simmer gently, covered, one to two hours.

Makes 8 servings.

Honey Corn Bread

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free such as Rumford’s)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Combine egg, honey, butter and milk in another bowl.
  • Stir the egg, honey, butter and milk mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten.
  • Pour batter into an 8-inch square baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray.
  • Bake 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Serve at room temperature.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information for Chili con Carne
Per serving: 277 calories; 8.3g total fat (2.0g saturated, 0.5g polyunsaturated and 2.6g monounsaturated); 513mg sodium; 32.5mg cholesterol; 31.3g carbohydrate (7.2g sugars) 9.3g fiber; 21g protein; 633.7mg potassium.

Nutritional Information for Honey Corn Bread
Per two-inch square serving size: 111 calories; 1.8g total fat (0.8g saturated, 0.2g polyunsaturated and 0.3g monounsaturated); 110mg sodium; 20.9mg cholesterol; 21.1g carbohydrate (6.9g sugars) 1.9g fiber; 3.2g protein; 61.9mg potassium.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and that certain groups limit intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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