Barry’s Secret Ingredient Chili

I have always thought chili was just fine…something great to throw on some Fritos or a hot dog.  I had no idea how much I could love it.  This one is in my top three favorite meals ever, period.  And to his credit, this is my husband’s recipe.  He has tweaked and played with this recipe, then tweaked it a little more over the years to get it juuuust right.  As you’ll see from the ingredients, it does not skimp in flavor.  I seriously don’t even put cheese in this chili (and I’m a cheese fanatic) because I don’t want to do anything to distract from its awesomeness.

And yes, I’m revealing the secret ingredient. You would never, ever know that this chili has oats from the flavor or texture, but it adds just enough of a thickening agent to make this even heartier, making it less like a soup and more like, well, chili!  It’s been a hit at chili cook-offs for years now, and I’m finally sharing it with you as we approach Superbowl Sunday.  Bonus — this can feed a crowd inexpensively, and your party (or you Tuesday – whenever) just won’t be the same without it!  ~Robin

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  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 T., plus one tsp. chili powder
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 1 T., plus 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 lg. can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans light red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained
  • ½ c. quick oats, uncooked
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground Cayenne pepper (adjusting up or down depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 – 2 tsp. salt (Start with one tsp. and adjust to taste in ¼ tsp increments – it’s a lot of food so you may end up going to 2 tsp.)

In a large stock pot, cook ground beef, onions, and garlic on medium heat. Once beef is cooked and any fat drained, add all other ingredients and continue to cook on medium heat until heated thoroughly and has had a chance for the flavors to blend.  It just gets better and better leftover (I keep it in my fridge for up to three days).  It does freeze very well; I recommend freezing it in small, individual microwave-safe containers so you can grab a serving to take for lunch anytime over the next six months.

WW Info:  4 points/cup on green (9 pts for 2 cups), 1 point/cup on blue (2 points for 1.75, 3 points for 2 cups), and 1 point/cup on purple (2 points for 1.75, 3 points for 2 cups)

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

I almost feel bad for posting another soup recipe because I’m afraid y’all are going to think that’s all we eat, but it’s hard to feel bad with a big bowl of comfort food in front of me.  Can’t stop, won’t stop eating allll the soups. This particular soup is a favorite of my family’s. It’s rich and creamy and perfect with crackers on a cold night. Add it to your soup rotation!  I know I will. ~Erin

Ingredients:

1 c. chopped celery

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. diced carrots

1 T. minced garlic

32 oz. chicken stock

4 c. water

1 lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast or 12 oz. cooked, shredded chicken breast

¼ tsp. oregano

1 bay leaf

½ tsp. black pepper

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 pkg. Chicken Rice A Roni, including seasoning packet

1 c. fat-free half & half

Non-stick cooking spray

Saute celery, carrots, and onion in cooking spray until the onions are tender and translucent.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock and 4 cups water.  If using raw chicken, add it at this time and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.  Remove from pot and shred; set aside. If using precooked chicken, simmer the veggies and broth until the carrots are fork-tender.

In a small bowl, make a slurry with the flour and some of the hot liquid from the pot.  Whisk until smooth and then stir the slurry into the pot.

Add oregano, bay leaf, pepper, and Chicken Rice A Roni.  Simmer 15 minutes, covered, or until rice is tender.

Remove the bay leaf.  Sir in fat-free half & half and the shredded chicken.  

WW Info:  Green plan – 4 points per cup; blue plan – 3 points per cup; purple plan – 3 points per cup

Super Simple Chicken Taco Soup

How many times in my life, after a very indulgent food weekend, have I said the words, “I’m going to have eat nothing but baked chicken and broccoli all next week!”?  I’m sure that those who know me roll their eyes as they laugh, because it’s no secret that I am not a fan of self-deprivation. This girl gotta eat!  In fact, I often find that when I try to deprive myself of food that makes me feel satisfied, I end up eating more in the long run.  Just about the only thing that helps me get myself back on track after a few days of eating “all the things” is doing some serious food-prep leg work.  

If you’ve been following around here for long, you know that I am a big fan of soups and stews.  I’m one of those people who can eat a bowl of soup or chili in the middle of an August afternoon.  Soups and stews are super easy to make and can easily fit into my food planning and pre-prepping rotations.  They are also great to help me feel full without going full-tilt down a crazy eating path. This Super Simple Chicken Taco Soup is one of my favorite make ahead meals.  It’s my go-to lunch this week and is saving me after a weekend of eating out.  ~ Tracy 

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Ingredients:

4 medium sized chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 can black beans, drained (15.5 oz.)

1 can pinto beans, drained (15.5 oz.)

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)

1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles, such as Ro-Tel

1 c. frozen corn

½ c. finely chopped yellow onion

½ c. finely chopped red bell pepper

1 c. water

2 T. taco seasoning

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

Add all ingredients together in a large stock pot or soup pan.  Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve topped with your favorite shredded cheese or sour cream.

This soup makes approximately 7 cups and is zero points/cup on the WW Freestyle/Blue plan.

 

 

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

I’ve tried very hard to expose my kids to a wide variety of foods – even the ones that I don’t personally like. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve tried branching out with my own diet as well. I will admit that a part of this “branch out” journey has been due to the fact that I attempt to follow a fairly WW (formerly Weight Watchers) friendly diet these days.
WW allows you to eat as much as you want (within reason, of course) of certain fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. I’m always looking for ways to make those ‘leaner’ foods a larger part of my diet….because I am also all about a larger portion!  I’d tried some other recipes with winter squash but just wasn’t too thrilled with them. Winter squashes tend to have a slightly sweeter flavor, which isn’t usually what I’m looking for as a meal. So, when you can’t find what you want, you make it, right? Hence this Savory Butternut Squash Soup that is more on the spicy side and totally hits the spot.  ~Tracy
SquashSoup
Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
½ T. chili powder
½ T. paprika
½ t. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
½ c. finely chopped yellow or white onion
½ c. finely chopped red bell pepper
2 ½ c. fat free chicken broth
¼ c. parmesan cheese
feta cheese for topping, if desired
Preheat oven to 400.
Split the butternut squash lengthwise and place open side down on a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment or sprayed.
Roast the squash for 45 – 60 minutes until fork tender. Baking time will vary by oven and depends upon the size of the squash. Allow your squash to cool to room temperature.
Remove the seeds and stringy area and discard. Scoop out the squash and puree until smooth. If you have an immersion blender they work great for this step.  I use this one.
In a large sauce pan or soup pot, mix the pureed squash with all other ingredients except the feta cheese.
Saute on low for 30 min. Be careful to allow the soup mixture to boil as this could lead to scorching on the bottom.
Serve your soup topped with 2 T. crumbled feta cheese.
This soup makes approximately five 1-cup servings, but this may vary depending upon the size of your squash. The soup is one WW points per serving.
We receive a small amount of compensation from Amazon if you choose to purchase your item from the link from our website.  

Italian Vegetable Soup

This soup happened on a Sunday when I was looking for something to accompany our simple chicken breast supper.  I had a lot of random veggies in the fridge that needed to be used before the work-week started. Why?  We all know once Monday rolls around nobody is getting any real cooking done, and veggies left in the crisper are going to their graves. I decided I might as well use everything I had and turn it into a soup that I could have for lunch all week at work.

That Sunday afternoon, this Italian Vegetable Soup was born, and it’s become one of my favorite soups to make since then.  I make it often.  It’s delicious all by itself (and zero SmartPoints on WW, by the way!) but, if you really want to kick it up a notch, add some parmesan and croutons.  Yes, please!  When I want it as more of a main dish, I toss in some pre-cooked turkey sausage (sliced links or crumbles either one are perfect).  You see why I like this soup… so customizable and flavorful!   ~Erin

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c. finely diced carrots
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 T. Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 6 c. chicken broth
  • Optional toppings:  parmesan cheese, croutons, precooked sausage (sliced links or crumbled)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot.  Sauté onion, bell pepper, carrots, and celery for a few minutes until onions are translucent and veggies are tender.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, a minute or two.

Add zucchini and seasonings; cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and broth and simmer until zucchini is tender to your preference.

WW Info.:  This recipe makes approximately 10 cups.  Each 1-cup serving is zero SmartPoints on the Freestyle plan.  Be sure to add points for any additional toppings.

Lower Carb Chicken Noodle Soup

Have I mentioned that my sisters and I are big fans of old fashioned comfort food?  Especially during the winter, I’m capable of carb loading like your average pre-hibernation bear.  Bread, noodles, and baked goods take the place of all other food groups. I have lovingly joked that I am blessed with a large, loud, and loving family….but not blessed with the genetics of a fast metabolism.  I also have two teenage boys to feed who have inherited their mother’s love of carbs. So, in the interest of health for all of us, I always look for ways to cut even the smallest amount of fat or carbs from our diet without sacrificing flavor.  Bless the hearts of those of you can be successful on seriously low or no carb diets. You have the will power of Super Woman (or man) in my opinion, but the reason I love Weight Watchers – now known as “WW” with the tag line of Wellness Works, because it really does work – and I can still eat the carbs!!

This recipe is born from one of my taste tests of a pasta product called Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine from the Al Dente Pasta Company.  One cup of regular cooked egg noodles is 6 WW Freestyle Points. These Carba-Nada Fettuccine Noodles are only 4 WW Freestyle Points for one and a half cups!  More for less is always great in my book, and nobody in my family had any clue that they were a little bit healthier, and a little lower carb, than regular egg noodles.  

You can find the egg noodles using this link.  I highly recommend them! 

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1T. reduced calorie margarine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped white or yellow onion
  • 3/4 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. chopped baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 10 oz. can Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 10 oz. fat free milk (one soup can)
  • 2 c. chopped or shredded chicken breast (I use shredded rotisserie chicken breast)
  • ~1 10 oz. package Carba Nada Egg Fettuccini

Instructions:  

  1. Gently heat the olive oil and margarine in a large stock pot.
  2. Once heated, place your celery, onions, and carrots into the stock pot.
  3. Cook over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften slightly.
  4. Add salt, pepper, the bay leaf, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, and milk.
  5. Stir gently to combine and bring to a low simmer.
  6. Add chicken breast and the entire package of egg noodles.
  7. Simmer slowly until the noodles are cooked to an al dente texture. Probably no more than 6 or 7 minutes, but check them frequently.
  8. Remove the bay leaf and discard it before serving.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes approximately 9 one cup servings. Each serving is 3 points using the Carba-Nada pasta. Using regular egg noodles, each serving is 5 points.

We would earn a fraction of the funds should you choose to order your egg noodles via our Amazon affiliate links, though it won’t cost you any extra.

Creamy Chicken Taco Chili

Every New Year’s Eve on Facebook (for the past several years), I have posted, “Tell me something good that happened this year.”  If you listen to The Bobby Bones radio show, the phrase “tell me something good” may ring a bell.  It’s a segment on his show every morning where the cast reads positive news headlines.  It’s my favorite part of his show.  I mean, who doesn’t love to hear about the GOOD things people are doing in this world?!  There is enough negativity and bad news out there.  It’s nice to focus on the good for a change.  My yearly Facebook post is a knockoff from Bobby’s Tell Me Something Good segment… a chance for me to hear some positive news from my friends and share some positive news of my own.  A perfect way to end one year and move into the next.  If more people focused on the positive things in their lives instead of harping on the bad stuff, this world would be a much more pleasant place, don’t you agree?

This year, I was able to share several good things that happened for me in 2018 (I could have named a bunch but I focused on the highlights):  1.  I became a WW (formerly Weight Watchers) Wellness Guide (a.k.a. meeting receptionist – I’m still not used to the new titles).  I’ve been a lifetime member for YEARS and decided it was time to take a more active roll.  2.  I went back to teaching!  I was a kindergarten teacher for 6 years but I quit teaching and went into a different field when my daughter was a year old (long story) so I’ve been out of public ed for over 10 years.  I’m back and glad to be working with kids again, plus it’s awesome to be back on the same schedule as my own kids.  3.  We more than doubled our blog traffic on Four Sisters Dish in 2018 as compared to our first year, 2017.  That’s amazing!  We have YOU to thank for it.  We want to thank you all for reading, subscribing, commenting, sharing, and most importantly COOKING our recipes!  We love when people make our food and tell us how they like them.  Please continue to do so… we love hearing from our readers and we hope to have more interaction with you 2019!

Tell us something good in the comments!  What was something good that happened for you in 2018?  We hope your 2018 was as great as ours and we at Four Sisters Dish wish you a happy, healthy and delicious 2019!

Speaking of delicious, let’s start the year off with this Creamy Chicken Taco Chili.  This can be made in your crockpot or your electric pressure cooker.  I’ve included instructions for both.  This chili is creamy and rich but it’s guaranteed not to sabotage your healthy diet resolutions.  Enjoy it without guilt!  ~Erin

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken individually frozen chicken breasts*
  • 2 cans (10 ¾ oz. each) Campbell’s Healthy Request cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 (16 oz.) can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar mild taco sauce (I used Taco Bell brand.)
  • 1 (16 oz.) can fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (10 oz.) can mild Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilis, undrained
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8 oz.) package fat-free cream cheese

Slow Cooker Instructions:

In the pot of a slow-cooker, whisk together cheddar cheese soup, refried beans, taco sauce, chicken broth, corn, Ro-Tel, and spices.  Nestle the frozen chicken breasts into the mixture.  *You can use thawed chicken breast, just be aware that it will cook much faster.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  In the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some of the hot liquid from the crock pot with the cream cheese, until smooth.  Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pot, stir in the black beans, and return the shredded chicken to the pot. Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes of cook time.

Serve with shredded cheese, avocado, jalapenos, and corn chips, if desired.

Electric Pressure Cooker Instructions:

In the pot of an electric pressure cooker, whisk together cheddar cheese soup, refried beans, taco sauce, chicken broth, corn, Ro-Tel, and spices.  Nestle the frozen chicken breasts into the mixture.

*You can use thawed chicken breast, just be aware that it will cook much faster.  See your pressure cooker owner’s manual for time adjustments for thawed chicken breasts.

Set the electric pressure cooker for 45 minutes.  Quick release pressure and open the pot when all pressure is released.  Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some of the hot liquid from the pressure cooker with the cream cheese, until smooth.  Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pot, stir in the black beans, and return the shredded chicken to the pot.  Using the saute setting, simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans are warmed through.  Watch it closely so the cream cheese doesn’t scorch.

Serve with shredded cheese, avocado, jalapenos, and corn chips, if desired.

WW Freestyle Info: This soup makes approximately 16 cups.  Each cup is 2 points, not counting optional garnishes.

Bacon Cheeseburger & Tater Soup

I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! I still have gifts to wrap! Are you an early shopper or a last-minute frenzy shopper? I’m usually somewhere in between, but this year I went back to teaching (after 10 years working in an entirely different industry), and school didn’t let out until this past Wednesday. That, combined with holiday parties, my son’s 8th birthday, and just life in general, has left me way behind this year. I love the holidays but I wish I had more time to relax.
One way I make time for all the gift-wrapping I need to catch up on is by using my crockpot to make supper. Y’all know I love my slow-cooker. Cooking with it is so much better than standing over the stove. I will confess, this Bacon Cheeseburger & Tater Soup is not one you leave and go to work and let it cook. It does need stirred occasionally. Otherwise, it’s very little work. You can wrap your Christmas presents while it cooks!

I hope you and your family enjoy this rich, cheesy, meaty soup and I hope you have a very merry (and relaxing) holiday season! ~Erin

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Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. 96% lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. burger seasoning (I use McCormick brand
  • 1 small onion (or half a large onion), chopped
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 (10 ¾ oz.) can Campbell’s Healthy Request cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 (32 oz.) carton reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (32 oz.) bag of frozen southern hash browns (the cubed kind, NOT the shredded kind)
  • 8 oz. reduced-fat Velveeta or Velveeta Shreds
  • Center-cut bacon, fried crisp (optional garnish but HIGHLY recommended)
  • Shredded cheese and chopped pickles, for garnish

Instructions: 

  1. Brown the ground beef (leave it a little chunky – it will fall apart more in the slow cooker); add garlic and burger seasoning and cook another minute, until fragrant.
  2. Drain grease, if necessary, and transfer it to the pot of a slow cooker.
  3. Add onion, Worcestershire, Dijon, cheddar soup, and beef broth; stir to incorporate.
  4. Add 2/3 of the bag of hash browns; let the remaining hash browns thaw in the bag.
  5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Cook time may vary depending on how hot your slow cooker gets. The potatoes will thicken the soup as it cooks.
  6. Add Velveeta and remaining hash browns and stir until cheese is melted and soup is warmed through.
  7. I highly recommend adding crumbled bacon and extra cheese to your serving.

WW Freestyle Info: This makes 9 servings. Each heaping 1-cup serving is 6 points, not including garnishes. Though I highly recommend spending some extra points on a slice of crumbled bacon…or two!

French Onion Stew

When my younger son was in grade school he started ordering French onion soup in restaurants like Panera Bread.  He’s always been a fairly adventurous eater, but that one surprised even me.  I decided that if he was going to eat it, I’d learn to make it….but, I must make a confession, I’m not a fan of plain French Onion soup. It tastes so much like onion (go figure).  So, I experimented with several components of soup that I do like and came up with this recipe.  It has turned into a meal that we can all agree is the perfectly indulgent meal. ~Tracy

FrenchOnionStew

Ingredients:
  • 3.5 oz. Shiitake mushrooms (usually one small container), chopped
  • 8 oz. baby Portabella mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 ½ to 2 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 t. freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 ½ c. shredded beef, such as a rump roast cooked in this method
  • 2 c. fat free beef broth
  • 1 10 ½ can beef consume (such as Campbell’s)
  • 3 T. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ – 2 c. water (adjust as needed if stew is too thick when barley cooks)
  • 1 c. uncooked barley

Instructions: 

  1. Place chopped mushrooms into a bowl.
  2. Cover with boiling water and let stand approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Spray the bottom of a large stock pot with cooking spray.
  4. Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in sprayed approximately 10 minutes or until softened and just beginning to brown.
  5. Add mushrooms, beef, and a tablespoon or so of the mushroom liquid to aide in the saute process.
  6. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add soy, consume, broth, water, and barley.
  8. Simmer 30 minutes until barley is tender.
  9. Transfer servings of stew to oven-safe bowls.
  10. Top with your favorite cheese such as grated parmesan, or swiss.
  11. Place bowls under the broiler for only a couple of minutes until cheese melts and begins to lightly brown.
  12. Carefully remove bowls from oven and serve with your favorite bread.

WW Freestyle Info.: This soup makes approximately 10 one-cup servings. Each serving is 3 points each without cheese.

 

 

The Best Taco Soup

Years ago when I was newly married, Tracy sent me a recipe box for my birthday.  Included were several recipes that she had handwritten. This is one of my favorites from that now well-used box.  I have made this more times than I can count and it’s always a hit. Taco Soup is a stick-to-your-ribs meal in one pot.   This version is different than any other I have seen. The addition of ranch dressing (trust me here, do not leave this out!!) adds another layer of flavor and creaminess.  We love to serve it with warm, buttered corn bread. This recipe makes a lot, so cutting it in half is feasible, but the leftovers are worth making the whole batch!!  ~Kathy

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Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef (93/7) or 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 pkg taco seasoning (1.3 oz each)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chili beans or ranch style beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, mostly drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained (or 1 ¼ c. frozen corn)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 oz) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chilis – you can use mild, original or hot depending on your preference
  • 1 ¼ c. water*
  • 1 c. Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing (we use Hidden Valley)

Instructions: 

  1. In a large pot, brown ground beef, adding onion part way through the cooking process.
  2. Remove to drain any excess oil.
  3. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients.
  4. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes about 11 cups. Each 1-cup serving is 6 points per serving if made with lean ground beef. When made with 99% lean ground turkey, each serving is 2 points.

** If you live at high altitude, increase the amount of water to 1 ½ cups.