Monthly Archives: June 2014

Clean out the Pantry Chili


(image credit Keerati,

I am on vacation. Woot-woot! I needed one bad this year. Seems like the stretch from Christmas to end of school year was super busy, and the little half week trip over spring break that we took wasn’t enough to de-stress. So I’m at the beach with my boys, the hubs arrives tomorrow, and we have had plenty of down time to chillax. Unfortunately my boys got a little too much sun, so we’ve been trying to find a few more indoor activities than typical.

We are staying with my mom and have had lots of great meals with my mom and sisters. The other night my mom proclaimed there was nothing to eat and we needed to stop at the grocery store. Anyone who has seen my mom’s pantry can attest to the fact that there could be a nuclear holocaust and you’d still eat pretty well at mom’s house. Seriously. So I pulled out some cans of veggies, a box of quinoa, chopped a few veggies, and made a delicious, easy, and very healthy chili. Recruit a sous chef to open your cans and your wrist will thank you. All cans in this recipe are 15/16 oz (i.e. regular size cans, not big ones). And you may think it odd that I found a can of pumpkin in my mom’s pantry in June. Really, it’s not. My mom makes a mean pumpkin pie and she’ll make you one for the fourth of July if you’d like. Cause really, what’s more American than that?

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili

Serves a lot… probably 12?

1 T olive oil (or skip and water sauté the veggies)
2 vidallia onions or other sweet/mild onion
3 stalks celery, diced
1 C diced carrots
1/2 to 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (amount to taste)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 C uncooked quinoa
3 cans of beans (I used one each black beans, red kidney, and cannelleni beans), drained and rinsed
1 can corn including liquid
2 cans diced tomatoes including liquid
1 can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just plain pumpkin)
2 T chili powder
1/2 T cumin
1/2 T corriander

Directions: Rinse quinoa and place in a lidded saucepan with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Heat olive oil or a small amount of water in a large stock pot over med-high heat. Add chopped onions, celery, carrot, and pepper and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the diced sweet potatoes in a microwave safe cooking vessel with water to cover and microwave until crisp-tender, around 10 minutes. Drain sweet potatoes. To the stock pot with the sautéd veggies, add the beans, corn including liquid, and tomatoes including liquid. Stir in the pumpkin, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer about 10 minutes (or longer, this is a pretty forgiving recipe).

If the idea of canned corn liquid skeeves you out, add a small amount of veggie broth or water. Or get over it–it’s just water that tastes like corn. Sheesh.

This recipe stores wonderfully in the fridge, and we packed up a lot to put in the freezer. You could serve it over greens for a little more of a nutritional whallop, or chop up and stir in some added kale or spinach if that sounds good. Or serve on top of spaghetti squash, or over split baked potatoes, or stuff it into whole wheat tortillas. Lots of possibilities!

What’s your favorite healthy pantry meal?