The weather has been a little bipolar lately. Warm and spring-like, followed by a fluke snowstorm, and now rain for three days straight. It’s the perfect weather for chili! I have this chili recipe I’ve made forever – whenever we’ve stayed at our family cabin or on a rainy day at home, but it calls for things like prepared barbecue sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar. Hello? Can we say sugar overload. I love the smokey, spicy, sweet flavors of barbecue sauce, but I don’t so much love high fructose corn syrup or the artificial colors and flavors. Even ketchup has a bunch of corn syrup in it.
Now that we eat clean, gluten free, mostly dairy free, and refined sugar is pretty much non-existent in our home, I needed a new chili recipe.
This made from scratch Barbecue Chicken Chili is a great one pot or Crock Pot meal. And it has bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon?!
FYI when shopping for ingredients:
*It’s important to use SMOKED paprika to get the right flavor. You won’t get the same taste with regular, sweet, or spicy paprika.
*Uncured bacon is actually cured but done so without the use of nitrates or nitrites. It’s usually cured with celery powder and/or sea salt which makes it much better for you. However, not all bacon is gluten free (cross contamination or other added flavors). Always read labels and if you’re not sure consult the manufacturer’s website.
Barbecue Chicken Chili
- 1 lb. chicken, cubed
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 4 – 6 strips, uncured bacon (here’s one of my favorite gluten free brands)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth/stock
- 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 celery stalk
- 8 oz. can tomato paste
- 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 cups water
- 2 tbsp. honey
- apple cider vinegar
Barbecue Chili Seasoning
In a separate bowl combine…
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
In a large stew pot cook the bacon until it’s as crispy as you like. Remove to a paper towel. Once it’s cooled you can chop it into bite sized pieces. In the bacon grease saute the onion and garlic until they begin to soften and become translucent. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cut into chunks. Add the chicken chunks to the onions and garlic and cook until caramel/golden brown on the outside.
Pour in the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the yummy bits off the bottom. Add in remaining ingredients, seasoning, and return the chopped bacon to the pot. Stir to combine. This can simmer for anywhere from 20 minutes on the stove to 4 hours in a Crock Pot. When you’re ready to eat just top it with some avocado chunks!
After school snack attack is a real problem around my house. The kids get home from school and in a whirlwind my sort of quiet, somewhat tidy home is strewn with backpacks, shoes, homework, jackets, and noise. The only thing that can calm the after school crazies is to wind down with a snack and maybe some outside time before we tackle homework.
Hummus is a such a great snack because it’s full of protein, fiber, and very filling. I usually put out a little cup of peanut butter too. The carrot sticks go in the hummus and the celery in the peanut butter.
What makes the hummus green, you ask?
…..Promise not to tell my kids?
It’s spinach (and a little cilantro too)! Yep, and you’d never taste it. My kids love green smoothies so I just tell them it’s green hummus and for some reason they don’t ask any other questions. This hummus is simple enough to make right in a blender or food processor and the color of the fresh spinach makes it look like a mischievous Leprechaun fixed it for them It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day you want to sneak a little more green in your family’s diet.
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup Sesame Tahini sauce (you can find it here)
- 4 tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 + cup water
In a food processor combine the chickpeas, garlic, lime juice and half the water. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and any additional water as you blend until it reaches the thickness you prefer. Serve with veggie sticks, tortilla chips, or my favorite is to use it in place of other condiments on sandwiches or wraps. Yummy!
Noodles are our family’s simple and quick way to get dinner done. However, when you’re eating gluten free you can’t just get any old box of pasta. Although there now are many more affordable gluten free pasta options, most gluten free pasta will be made of rice and corn. Since I try to switch up the monotony and keep our diets varied, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Gluten Free Pastas that are not only delicious, cook up well, and are good for you too, but also give you a variety of “grains” to add to your diet.
It’s also organic, non GMO, vegan, and made with the super food quinoa. These work great in any Italian inspired pasta night. This is the kind you just keep on hand all the time because it’s good for just about anything.
These are perfect for stir-fries like my Chicken Pad Thai. One of the nicest things is how fast they cook up. It really only takes a matter of minutes and they’re ready. Now you can get your Oriental food fix without risking cross-contamination or questionable ingredients.
Although you can make you’re own fairly simple, this potato pasta comes in handy when you just need to pour some spaghetti sauce over something. A bonus is that these are very filling so they’re perfect for a meatless meal.
This pasta uses only veggies and rice flour to make a pasta that is perfect for anyone with allergies to dairy, egg, yeast, soy, nuts, as well as wheat. And they’re pretty colors too!
You can be creative when it comes to noodles and can make a quick and easy meal that the kids will love.
Here’s dinner number two on my list of top store-bought fixings. This dinner takes about 15 minutes from start to finish! It comes in handy on those days when everyone’s in meltdown mode because they’re starving !
I have two favorite, gluten free, no nitrate, and overall good for you chicken sausages. First, is Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach from Casual Gourmet. I find these at – you guessed it – Costco!
I’ve also used Applegate Organics Fire Roasted Red Pepper Sausage. Both options work great, both are fully cooked, and both are good for you.
Chicken Sausage & Quinoa Dinner
1 package (4-6 sausages) roasted red pepper chicken sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
5-8 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
handful fresh spinach
1.5 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
3 cups chicken stock (homemade or a good store bought chicken stock)
Bring chicken stock and quinoa to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. While that’s working, slice sausage into diagonal chunks and saute along with the onion. When the onion’s translucent and caramelized toss in the cherry tomatoes until they burst, followed by the basil and spinach. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and toss together with the sausage and veggies. Serve warm with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.