When there’s a chill in the air, nothing warms better than a bowl of chili. It’s true that many chilis require long, slow cooking, but luckily not all do. This comforting, one-pot meal can be on the table in under 30 minutes.

Savory and satisfying, the base for this chili is simple: a can of southwestern bean salad. Seasoned with a hint of heat and chili powder, this canned combo of black beans, kidney beans, corn and hominy is a perfect chili starter. Adding lean, quick-cooking pork tenderloin or chicken breast, chopped tomato and bell pepper makes a top-notch chili in no time.

Chili is just right for dinner on a busy weeknight but is also a great dish for casual weekend entertaining. Set out sour cream, cilantro and shredded cheese for toppers and let guests help themselves to a hearty bowl. Pair with a corn muffin or tortilla chips to round out the menu.

A can of southwestern bean salad is the start for many delicious options beyond chili. Of course, it’s also a ready-to-eat quick side dish-just open the can-but the possibilities are endless. Add chopped tomatoes and cilantro for a sassy salsa. Simmer with sauteed bell pepper and onion and some vegetable broth for a scrumptious vegetarian soup. For a zesty dip, puree it in the food processor, leaving it slightly chunky.

Southwester Bean Chili

Makes four servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed or 1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (one color or a combination)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, mild or hot
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup beer, chicken broth or water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) southwestern bean salad, not drained
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sour cream and chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork; cook and stir until browned and just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno; cook and stir 2 minutes until crisp-tender. Stir in cumin, chili powder and tomato. Add beer; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in bean salad; return pork to pan. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add salt, as desired. Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Note: Additional liquid may be added if less-thick chili is preferred.

Nutrition information per serving (1/4 of recipe):

262 calories; 17 g protein; 26 g carbohydrate; 9 g fat; 498 mg sodium; 30 mg cholesterol; 7 g dietary fiber; 12 mg iron; 0.47 mg thiamin; 988 IU vitamin A; 41 mg vitamin C.

Source: Seneca Foods Corporation