Friday, December 14, 2012

Batch Cooking: Sweet Potato Chili

What do you get when you throw sweet potatoes, cilantro, black beans and a bunch of other ingredients into a pot?? 

If your answer is sweet, delicious goodness... then you are correct!!  

I was getting tired of my regular batch-cooked meals and decided to change things up this week.  Since I haven't posted a batch cooking recipe lately, I thought one of this week's meals - Sweet Potato Chili - would be a good topic for today's post.  

As I mentioned in my last batch cooking post, setting aside a couple of hours each Sunday has been a lifestyle necessity for me in terms of being prepared with the right food and nutrition for the week.  However, even though I plan for it, I will do whatever it takes to cut down on the time involved. 

Not to mention, the process cannot involve stressful recipe directions... I'm already stressed out enough by my pitiful Fantasy Football team every Sunday, I don't need to add to it. (Sigh... poor "Flaming Moe's"... sadly, the flame has been pretty much extinguished by now). 

Anyways, just like watching a Simpson's episode, I need to follow "mindless TV versions" of a recipe - you know, one where you don't really need to think while making it, low stress, possibly even entertaining... you get the drift.

I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Chili in my junk drawer recipe drawer that I must have been saving for future use because I don't ever recall making it.  I have no idea where it's from but it fit my recipe criteria!

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorites foods and a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and potassium, not to mention many other health benefits.

However, I quickly discovered one slight problem, and probably why I had never made this before... the ingredients list was intact but most of the actual recipe directions had been ripped off.  No wonder it seemed easy, lol.  My solution...  Just throw all ingredients into the pot at once and cook it.  I mean, it's chili.  How much direction do I need?

Apparently, not much because it was DELICIOUS.

I ate this for lunch over the past 3 days because I liked it so much... and every single time I heated it up, whoever was standing near the microwave commented on how amazing it smelled.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture of it until today, as I was about to dig into my very last bowl of it (I'm so not a food blogger) but still looks good on Day 3!

I took the vegetarian route... partly because what I would typically throw in (ground turkey) had been a major part of my batch cooking prior to this week, so I was getting sick of it.  And honestly, I didn't feel like cooking anything else :) I'm sure any meat you add to it would make it taste amazing.

Here's the recipe, plus my $0.02 on how I ended up making it... ALSO, check out my latest red wine discovery at the bottom...!

Sweet Potato Chili

  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced --I used 1 because that's all I had
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced --I used minced jarred garlic because I'm lazy
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1.5 Tbs chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin --I couldn't find my cumin so omitted this
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 cups water* 
  • 1 can (28 oz) canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste thinned w/ 1/4 cup water --I used 6 oz can tomato paste, no water
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces --I used 3 sweet pots
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and well-drained --I used 1 can
  • 3/4 tsp salt --hmm, I'm just now noticing this.  I didn't use any.
  • (optional) chopped cilantro to taste/for garnish --in my opinion, this is mandatory not optional

  • Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat; add onions & garlic; saute ~ 10 minutes
    • ok, so here's where it got fuzzy... Since I didn't have the other directions, I chose to throw all the rest of my ingredients in at this point and cooked them uncovered for 30 minutes or so.  I ended up finding the same recipe online, so here is what it says to do after the onion & garlic...
  • Stir in peppers and cook 10 minutes, stirring often
  • Sprinkle on chili powder and cumin, cook 2 minutes
  • Stir in all remaining ingredients except cilantro and bring to boil
  • Cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender; stir occasionally
  • Garnish with cilantro (or add a little more generously if you love it, like me)
You can also use vegetable broth instead of water and garnish with shredded cheese.
(recipe adapted from the Duke University Student Health/Nutrition website) 

*I like a thick broth and while this chili does thicken after it's refrigerated, I would prefer it to be even thicker.  When I make this again, I'll experiment with using slightly less water.  

Fun Red Wine Discovery!

So, I stopped in Trader Joe's this week to get ground coffee and protein bars... and walked out with four bottles of wine.  (In my defense, the wine department is located directly in front of the protein bars.)

I was drawn to this particular wine, Grifone Primitivo, for 3 reasons:
  1. The label was orange (my favorite color)
  2. I needed a couple bottles of red wine for "just in case" purposes (girls' night in, Wednesday Wine Night, etc)
  3. The price point was $3.99 (!)
I knew I was taking a chance with purchasing a $3.99 bottle of wine but I figured I could cook with it if it ended up being undrinkable.  I have to say though... this is pretty good wine!  (Primitivo is very similar to Zinfandel, according to winegeeks.)

I guarantee that if you serve this to friends, they would NEVER guess you spent under $5.00 for it.  Highly drinkable, solid wine.  If you live near a Trader Joe's that sells alcohol, I definitely recommend picking up a few bottle to keep on hand... Or to drink with your Sweet Potato Chili.  Whatever :)


Have a favorite sweet potato recipe??  Please share below, I'd love to hear!


  1. I love sweet potatoes.. especially fried in coconut oil or mashed with almond butter.. but in chili? I don't know.. I have a sensitive palette so even though this looks tasty, I think I may pass on attempting this recipe..
    However.. I'm a huge fan of "under $5.00" wine.. so will be checking this out! ;)

    1. Yes, gotta love under $5.00 wine! Definitely give the chili a try, it's really good. And I will try sweet pots with almond butter... not a pairing I would have thought to combine but sounds interesting!

      Lmk if you end up making the recipe! :)