This is an intriguing one-pot chili made the Mexican way – with cinnamon. It’s perfect for two or a crowd for Super Bowl Sunday. Some like it hot, some not, but everyone loves chili. This recipe is mildly hot. Serve hot pepper sauce on the side for those who want to adjust the heat. Using cooked chicken pieces in place of ground beef produces a lighter dish that’s nice for a change.

The chicken marinates for a few minutes in cinnamon with a little vinegar. I first noticed the use of cinnamon in Mexican cooking when I saw a friend add some to the meat she was preparing for her chili. Cinnamon is an East Indian spice that must have found its way to Mexico through Spain.

Helpful Hints:

• Roasted turkey can be used instead of chicken.

• Leftover chicken or turkey can be used.

• When buying roast chicken breast at the deli counter, ask for it to be cut in a 1 1/2-inch slice weighing about 1/2 pound. It will be easier to cut into cubes.

• Frozen corn is used in the salad. Defrost it in a microwave oven on high 2 minutes or let defrost at room temperature while preparing the rest of the meal.


• Prepare ingredients.

• Make chili.

• Make salad.

To buy: 1 small bunch cilantro, 1 bag shredded, washed ready-to-eat iceberg lettuce, 1 carton reduced-fat sour cream, 1 package shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese, 1/2 pound roasted chicken breast, 1 small can low-sodium red kidney beans, 1 small jar chili powder, 1 small jar ground cumin, 1 can low-sodium canned whole tomatoes, 1 package reduced-fat tortilla chips, 1 small package frozen chopped onion and 1 small package frozen corn kernels.

Staples: ground cinnamon, white vinegar, minced garlic, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, salt and black peppercorns.

If it’s Mexican Chicken Chili and Tortilla Salad, it must be nearing Super Bowl Sunday. TNS


Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer.

Yield 2 servings.

1/2 pound roasted chicken breast (skin removed)

2 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup frozen chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 cup rinsed and drained reduced-sodium canned red kidney beans

2 cups reduced-sodium canned whole tomatoes, with juice

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

For Garnish:

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces (about 1/2-inch cubes). Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the vinegar and cinnamon. Stir to make sure all cubes are coated with cinnamon.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute about 1 to 2 minutes. They should not be brown. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, chili powder and cumin. Break up the tomatoes with the spoon. Lower heat to medium and simmer gently 15 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer 5 more minutes. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Add more chili powder or cumin as needed.

Place sour cream, cilantro and cheese in condiment bowls and serve the chili passing the bowls.

Per serving: 482 calories (27 percent from fat), 14.6 g fat (7.2 g saturated,4.5 g monounsaturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 47.8 g protein, 42.8 g carbohydrates, 13.3 g fiber, 326 mg sodium.


Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer.

Yield 2 servings.

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted

4 cups shredded, washed-ready-to-eat iceberg lettuce

1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-fat vinaigrette dressing

2 cups reduced-fat tortilla chips (2 ounces)

Toss corn and lettuce in a medium-size bowl with the dressing. Sprinkle with tortilla chips and serve.

Per serving: 172 calories (15 percent from fat), 2.9 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 0.8 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 5.4 g protein, 33.3 g carbohydrates, 4.2 g fiber, 159 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is an author of over 30 cookbooks. Her newest is “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Find her on Facebook (@FoodNewsandViews) and Twitter (@LGassenheimer), and listen to her podcasts at

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