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Enjoying chili without seeing red


This simple, 15-minute chili actually has a green tint given by the green salsa which is available in many supermarkets these days. Verde, (pronounced vare-day), means green in Spanish and it is also the name given to Mexican-style stews that are based on the green tomatillo and green chilies rather than the red tomato and red chilies. A verde often uses pork as the meat. If desired, take the theme a little further and, instead of using red meat, use a mild poultry such as ground turkey or ground chicken. Pale pinto beans are used here instead of bright red kidney beans to carry the color theme.

This recipe is not only streamlined in time, but in fat and calories as well. The recipe requires only 2 teaspoons of oil for sauteing the ground poultry.

If you can't find salsa verde in your supermarket, you can substitute with two 6-ounce cans of green chilies plus a tablespoon or two of chopped pickled jalapenos, carries a lot of heat. Adjust this mixture to your preferred fire level.

The chili becomes a complete meal when served over a bed of rice, but there are other alternatives. You can serve it over oil-free tortilla chips and turn it into a Nacho Grande, glamorized with a sprinkling of cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Or go for the Cincinnati-style chili and serve it over tubular perciatelli noodles or spaghetti.

Red tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers in the salad make an attractive side dish. For dessert, dust the chocolate frozen yogurt with a wisp of cinnamon to complete the south-of-the border theme.

Items you should have as staples are: canola oil, onions, garlic, Mexican seasoning blend (or cumin and oregano), rice, tomatoes, cucumbers, mixed greens, salad dressing, chocolate frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

12 ounces ground turkey, chicken or beef

1 1/2 cup salsa verde (green salsa)

2 (15-16 ounce) cans pinto beans

Rapide Verde

Serves 4

2 teaspoons canola oil

12 ounces ground turkey, ground chicken or ground round

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ( 15-16 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cup salsa verde (green salsa)

2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning blend (taco seasoning mix, or 1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano)

Place the canola oil in a non-stick skillet and heat over medium high until hot. Add the ground meat and onion and saute for 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked and onion is soft. Pour off any fat.

Add the garlic, pinto beans, salsa and seasoning blend to the skillet and cook until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

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