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Spicy or mild, chili’s a favorite at the table

Mon., Dec. 13, 2010

The great thing about chili is that some like it hot, some like it mild, but almost everyone likes it. And you can put together today’s pork and bean chili in just 20 minutes.

The first chili was probably based on a Mexican meat dish called mole de guajolote, which was made with cubed pork accompanied by fried beans and rice. Americans crossing the border added their own touches.

Today there seem to be as many styles of chili as there are chili makers. The degree of heat is up to you; add more chili powder or fresh chili peppers to suit your taste.

Complete today’s meal by heating a package of microwaveable brown rice. Serve sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro on the side.

Chili freezes well. If you have time, double the recipe and freeze half for another quick dinner.

I have called for red kidney beans, but white cannellini beans work well and give a softer, lighter texture to the dish.

Served with rice, this meal contains 586 calories per serving with 24 percent of calories from fat.

Mexican Pork And Bean Chili

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)

1 cup frozen diced/chopped onion

1 1/2 cups frozen diced/chopped green bell pepper

1 cup rinsed and drained canned low-sodium red kidney beans

2 cups canned low-sodium chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup frozen or drained canned corn

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Saute the pork, onion and bell pepper 5 minutes, tossing to brown meat on all sides.

Add beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and ground cumin. Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and simmer 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chili in large bowls with brown rice, with sour cream and cilantro on the side.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 466 calories (27 percent from fat), 14.1 grams fat (2.3 grams saturated, 6.6 grams monounsaturated), 76 milligrams cholesterol, 36.8 grams protein, 54.9 grams carbohydrates, 15.9 grams fiber, 1,197 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks including her newest, “Mix ’n Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes,” and “Prevention’s Fit and Fast Meals in Minutes.” Visit her webpage at or e-mail her at

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