Pumpkin Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1 medium onion, trimmed, peeled and diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and diced

1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash

1 (15-ounce) can plain, unseasoned pumpkin puree (or 2½ cups home-processed pumpkin)

2 cups canned diced tomatoes and juice (organic preferred)

2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see note)

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon (or to taste) chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon (or to taste) fresh-ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add ground beef and cook the beef, breaking it up with the edge of a hard plastic spatula, until browned and cooked through. Remove the beef to a bowl. Set aside.

Return the saute pan to medium-high heat and in the oil remaining in the pan cook the onion, green pepper and garlic for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender and just slightly brown.

Return the meat to the saute pan along with the zucchini, squash, pumpkin puree, tomatoes, broth, pumpkin pie spice, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and gently simmer for about 30 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender. Add and stir in kidney beans, heat through, about 4 to 5 minutes and serve immediately.

Note: Don't have any pumpkin pie spice? Make your own: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

Serves 6

Nutrition values per serving: 296 calories (35% from fat), 11.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 27.6 g carbohydrates, 8.6 g sugars, 4.5 g fiber, 22.1 g protein, 47 mg cholesterol, 766 mg sodium.

Don Mauer

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