I always joke that my favorite part of chili is the cornbread, but I couldn’t be more serious! I love the combination of chili and cornbread, so to me, this recipe is a match made in heaven. Traditional beef chili is topped with corn muffin batter to create the ultimate sweet topping to compliment the savory chili. I like to think of this as a chili and cornbread version of shepherd’s pie. This recipe is easy to make, delicious, hearty, and even though it is healthy, there is nothing “light” tasting about it.
What makes this recipe lightened up?
The idea behind this recipe is my love for cornbread! My favorite part of eating chili during the cooler months is the cornbread that typically is served alongside. The sweetness of the corn bread (or corn muffins) is the perfect compliment to the warm, savory and hearty chili. So I thought, why not combine the two components into a casserole-type dish?
Although I had never combined the two and baked them together before, I figured it would work similarly to a shepherd’s pie, where a delicious and flavorful base is topped with a light and fluffy mashed potato topping. So I experimented, and this recipe was born.
You might see this recipe for chili with a cornbread topping and think… how on earth could this be “lightened-up?” As always, my motto is balance and moderation. So this recipe features real beef, beans, and corn muffin mix, but modified.
- I use 96% extra lean ground beef here, which is lower in calories and fat than other cuts of beef.
- Instead of using oil, I use olive oil spray to sauté the onions and beef.
- I use skim milk to bring the corn muffin mix together.
Aside from these small modifications, this recipe is truly a classic chili recipe, and you will not be able to tell this is lightened-up. This recipe is family-friendly, and perfect to serve to anyone, whether they are calorie counting or not.
What will I need to make this recipe?
To make this recipe, you will need:
- 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- You can find this at some major supermarkets, but also Trader Joe’s and Aldi.
- chili powder
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- kosher salt
- tomato paste
- canned diced tomatoes
- beef broth
- canned kidney beans
- corn muffin mix, I use the Jiffy brand
- skim milk
- an egg
How to make lightened-up chili with cornbread topping
To make this recipe, start off by preheating your oven to 375, so that it’s ready for later.
In the meantime, start the chili. Preheat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add olive oil spray, and then add your chopped onion and cook it for about 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to get tender and translucent. Next, add the ground beef and break it up with your wooden spoon. Cook the ground beef for about 5-10 minutes, or until it is cooked through and no longer pink.
Next, add all of the spices and stir to combine, followed by the tomato paste. Finally, add the canned diced tomatoes (with the juices), the beef broth, and the drained and rinsed beans. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes for the flavors to combine. Taste for seasoning. Pour the chili mixture into a baking dish or casserole dish.
To make the cornbread topping, combine the corn muffin mixture with the milk and egg. Pour it over the chili in the casserole dish. Bake the cornbread topped chili for 25 minutes.
Serve with your favorite chili toppings: shredded cheese, diced onions, and sour cream.
Lightened-Up Chili with Cornbread Topping
- large pot or Dutch oven
- casserole dish
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 lb 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, canned with juices
- 1 cup beef broth
- 14.5 oz kidney beans, canned, drained, rinsed
Corn Muffin Topping
- 1 cup corn muffin mix
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Preheat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Add olive oil spray to the pot.
- Chop the onion and add it to the pot.
- Cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until tender and slightly translucent.
- Add more olive oil spray to the pot, and add the ground beef.
- Break the ground beef up with a wooden spoon.
- Cook the beef for about 8-10 minutes or until it is no longer pink.
- Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, cumin and paprika.
- Add the tomato paste and stir in.
- Add the diced tomatoes with the liquid, and the broth.
- Drain and rinse the pinto beans and add them to the pot.
- Reduce the heat to minimum and simmer the chili for 20 minutes to develop the flavor.
- Combine the corn muffin mix, the milk, and the egg and whisk together.
- Pour the chili into a baking dish, and pour the corn muffin mixture evenly on top.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- 8 WW points (green plan)
- 6 WW points (blue and purple plans)
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