As summer winds to a belated close, I’m thinking all things fall – and no, I don’t mean pumpkin spice lattes. It’s the apples, sweet potatoes and squash filling the produce section that I’m looking forward to. It’s the season of warm, hearty comfort foods and of course, it’s race season.
After the hot, humid, sweaty miles logged all summer in preparation for fall races, the months of late-September, through to November are beautiful reprieve to see our breath at the start of a morning run and feel chilled once we finish. Once this chill sets in, I start craving heartier meals. The challenge, of course, is keeping things relatively healthy and fuel-friendly for my training needs. With race season in full swing and training weeks hitting peak mileage, I need to be mindful about what I’m fueling and recovering with.
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A great way to fuel up, fill up and stay warm and satisfied is through eating soups, stews and chilis. Plus, they’re easy to make – throw just about anything you like into a pot and call it a meal. Even better, most recipes make enough to feed a small army, or at least a hungry runner for a number of quick, solid meals.
One of my all time personal and fan favourites is my Sweet Potato Chicken Chili. It’s got just the right amount of sweet and spicy, and is filled with nutrient-dense ingredients to keep you filled and satisfied. Whether you’re fueling for the next morning’s workout or enjoying a bowl after finishing a cool evening run, this’ll do the trick.
Sweet Potato Chicken Chili
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
2 tsp. chili powder (or more, to taste)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 chipotle peppers in abodo sauce, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled/chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
A few handfuls of spinach
1. Heat large pot over med-high heat for 2 minutes
2. Add oil, and when it shimmers, add onions and red pepper; cook 2 minutes
3. Turn down heat to medium and add garlic, spices, and chipotle peppers; cook 5 minutes
4. Add chicken stock and sweet potatoes
5. Nestle chicken breasts down into the stock and potatoes
6. Crank heat to high, cover, and bring to boil
7. Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer 30 minutes
8. Remove chicken and let rest on cutting board 10 minutes
9. Shred chicken with hands
10. Return to chili and add beans and spinach
11. Continue to cook uncovered, until thickened
Extras: I sometimes sub a can of corn for one of the cans of beans. Great topped with plain greek yogurt, scallions and shredded cheese. This keeps very well in the fridge/freezer and is great reheated.