Willy-nilly Chicken Chili

3 Feb

Simple, healthy chili combines ground chicken with rainbow-hued variety of vegetables


Diet and nutrition gurus tell us that we should eat as many colorful foods as possible, that we should strive to “put a rainbow on our plate” with each meal. The thinking being that an abundance of colorful, varied, healthful foods will provide us with the right balance of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and all that. I wish I’d kept a magazine article I read last year that broke down all the nutritious foods by color and meal combinations. You know…Breakfast suggestions included fruit salad of banana (white), strawberries (red), mango (orange), kiwi (green), and so forth (fruit-laden breakfast is easy; lunches and dinners somehow seem harder for someone like me, whose veggie intake tends to be limited to olives in martinis and tomatoes on burgers).

I try eating as colorfully as I can, as often as I can. Sometimes my interpretation of this food rule is, well, off-color (Pinot noir for purple, Stilton for blue, baguette for white, Cheetos for orange). But I came up with a chili recipe that will, I think, satisfy the healthy vittles vanguard and the veggie averse. Bonus: It includes all the colors except blue. (To round out the rainbow, I suppose you could always top the chili with blue corn chips. Or, better yet, blueberries for dessert.)

Anyway, it’s easy, tasty, healthy, and just in time for The Super Bowl (or, as I like to think of it, cool commercials interrupted by some confounding game). Go Patriants!


Willy-nilly Chicken Chili


  • 1 lb. ground chicken (white)
  • Olive oil
  • Large red onion, chopped (purple)
  • Few cloves garlic, minced (whitish-yellow)
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • (1) orange and (1) green bell pepper, seeded and diced (orange and green)
  • Can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (maroon)
  • Can Mexican-style corn, drained (yellow)
  • (2) cans petite diced tomatoes with green chiles (red)
  • Container V-8 Tomato Herb soup (reddish-orange)
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend, to top


In a large sauce pan, brown the ground chicken in a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat. When fully cooked, remove chicken from sauce pan using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion and garlic to sauce pan, and saute with another tablespoon of oil until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the spices to the mixture, and saute until fragrant. As mentioned in a prior post, I am not a big measure-er…I usually use the caps of the spice jars to pour out/measure my spices. In this case, I guess a half-capfull of chili powder, quarter-capfull of cayenne (I like my heat), dime size of salt, ground pepper, and cumin.

Add the bell peppers, and saute a few minutes more, until the peppers are slightly softened. The rainbow is really coming together now…

Mix in the beans, canned tomatoes in their juices, the tomato soup, and the ground chicken. Feel free to add more chili powder and any of the other spices, adjusting to taste.

Cover and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add in the canned corn, stirring thoroughly until heated through. Serve hot with corn bread, topped with Mexican cheese blend or shredded Cheddar…or blue corn chips!


4 Responses to “Willy-nilly Chicken Chili”

  1. Sarah February 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    This is going to go soooooo well with Giada’s scallion and olive cornbread for Sunday’s commercial-fest. I love this recipe…a chili both Hubby and I can love! That never happens, by the way. It is a colorful chili too! Yay for healthy! Ours won’t be as healthy with that cornbread though, will it….hmmmm….

    I like the way you eat. 🙂

    Thank you for this! I’m off to finish your mac and cheese recipe for lunch…. 🙂

    • ramblings&roasts February 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      Haha! BTW, mac and cheese recipe…verdict? On a whim, I entered it into a local “mac and cheese bowl” contest/fundraiser sponsored by our Albany NY newspaper, and am a finalist! Judging to happen on 2/18, so wish me luck 😉

  2. sugarspiceandbacon February 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    LOVE the big chunks of veggies in this chilli. With the rain in the forecast here in california over then next week I think this recipe is definitely in my future. 🙂 This recipe (and everything else about your blog!) is exactly the reason I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check it out! http://sugarspiceandbacon.com/2012/02/06/the-versatile-blogger-award/

    • ramblings&roasts February 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

      THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Enjoy the chili…so envious of you in Cali…such an abundance of sun, nature, and all good things “produce” 🙂 Love your blog, too. Glad I “met” you while visiting “Sarah’s Place”!

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