Chef Kirsten Helle shares her Healthy Pantry Chili recipe


by New Day Producers

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 11:37 AM

We hear all too often about the importance of making good choices when it comes to diet and exercise. The American Heart Association is starting a terrific 12-week health makeover program called the Go Red for Women BetterU Challenge, and they're looking for women who want to take charge of their health.

The BetterU Challenge includes health screenings, advice from health experts, and fun group activities such as cooking demos, group walks and Zumba classes.

Chef Kirsten Helle, a BetterU facilitator, shares her personal story of how a lifestyle transformation helped her to lose 100 pounds. Kirsten also shares her recipe for Healthy Pantry Chili.

The BetterU Challenge program starts on April 9, 2013. Applications are now available on the Puget Sound Goes Red website. Forty five women, ages 18 or older, will be accepted for this program.


Recipe for Healthy Pantry Chili:

The focus of this recipe is to show how even with no fresh foods in the house you can make a healthy, delicious and quick heart healthy meal with just the ingredients in your well stocked freezer/pantry (which will be what I will talk about).

Beans, frozen greens, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, healthy grains, garlic, basic spices and having the healthy herbs on hand growing to add the fresh punch to each recipe. These kinds of recipes keep you from hitting the drive through or going out to eat when you'd rather enjoy a healthy meal at home!

Just 20 minutes to a healthy, delicious meal that helps you live your heart healthy lifestyle and brings the family to the table...deliciously.

Recipe by Chef Kirsten Helle, Mesa de Vida...Table of Life
Chef Kirsten is a personal chef, nourishment consultant, and American Heart Association BetterU facilitator

(Serves 4-6)


  • 2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onions (or one fresh onion)
  • 1 cup frozen chopped bell peppers (or 1 fresh bell pepper, diced)
  • 1 cup frozen chopped kale (or 1 cup fresh kale, chopped)
  • 2 pinches Kosher/sea salt (leave out if you have to cut out sodium)
  • 3 tsp chili powder (use whole ground chilies, not a chili powder blend with a lot of ingredients. I like dried Ancho chili powder or chipotle - if using chipotle use less as it is typically spicier)
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


Heat a large soup pot or skillet over medium high heat, add oil and garlic.

Stir until the garlic is fragrant then add the onions, peppers, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and oregano, turn the heat up to high. Stirring often, saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice, cook for 30 seconds then add the pumpkin, tomatoes and beans. Cover and lower the heat to medium low.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili is thick, bubbly and all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 more minutes.

Serve and top with fresh cilantro.  You can add a bit of plain lowfat yogurt to dolloped on top if you wish. Enjoy!