Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Chili Chicken Pizza is Great for Fall

Several years ago I met a best girlfriend who lived in Illinois and we attended a pumpkin festival in Morton, Illinois, the “pumpkin capital of the world.” As part of the festival we watched part of the punkin chunkin’ contest. (As I now live in Delaware, I know all about punkin chunkin’ because it all started in Delaware back in 1986 when a group of guys, of course, wanted to see who could “throw” a pumpkin the furthest. In 1986, the furthest thrown was 126 feet. Last year, using different kinds of contraptions, they can now throw a pumpkin over 3,000 feet. Amazing!)
Anyway, one of the novelty dishes one could buy at the event in Morton, Illinois on a cold, fall day was warm pumpkin chili that had chicken and beans in it. So, when Recipe Redux said the theme this month was pumpkin, I thought back to that pumpkin chili that I enjoyed so much. However, I wanted to give it a new twist … so I created a pumpkin chicken chili and use it to top a pizza. Beow are photos of the pumpkin preparation.

Instead of cutting a raw pumpkin into small cubes, I wanted to try shredding it raw, to see how that would work in my chili. It worked great. As you can see from the photos above, you cut a whole fresh pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, peel the outside, and then grate the raw pumpkin. You could also use a shredding disk on a food processor, if desired. I bought a medium-sized, 6-pound pumpkin and used only about an eight of it for the chili. So, there is a lot of pumpkin left to make bread, puddings, or other pumpkin favorites (see links to other blogs below).
Here are some photos of the chili and pizza preparation.

The pizza is hearty and nutritious. Here’s the complete recipe:
Pumpkin Chili Chicken Pizza
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup shredded raw pumpkin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, reduced sodium if possible, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 thin 12-inch ready-to-cook whole wheat pizza crusts (such as Boboli or other brand)
2 tsp olive oil
1 (15 oz) can pizza sauce, (look for brand with the lowest sodium)
2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken over medium heat until browned. Drain if needed. Stir in onion, bell pepper, pumpkin, and garlic. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and seasonings. Set aside. Place pizza crusts on pizza pans or baking sheets. Brush pizza crust with olive oil. Divide pizza sauce evenly between 2 pizza crusts and spread into an even layer. Divide chicken chili mixture evenly between the 2 pizzas and spread into an even layer. Top each pizza with 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove and cut each pizza into 8 wedges.
Makes 8 servings (2 wedges each)
Here are some photos of the finished pizza.

Preparation Note: You can use your favorite pizza dough from scratch, if you prefer. Also, you can just make the pumpkin chicken chili and not put it on a pizza crust. Simply add a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes to the chili mixture when the pumpkin is added.
Nutrition Information per Serving (2 wedges):
444 calories, 16 g total fat, 6.5 g saturated fat, 69 mg cholesterol, 7 g dietary fiber, 26 g protein, and 448 mg sodium. One serving of this recipe provides an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium and fiber and a good source of vitamins B-6 and niacin. Note: sodium could be reduced further if homemade pizza crust was used and kidney beans were cooked from scratch instead of using canned.
Cost per Serving: $1.73
Pricing Note: all ingredients were at “regular” prices except ground chicken was $2.99 a pound and cheese was on sale for $1.50 for 8-ounce package of shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese.
Click here to download a copy of the Pumpkin Chili Chicken Pizza recipe.

What to do with the Pumpkin Seeds?
I didn’t want to throw away the pumpkin seeds, so after removing the seeds from the pumpkin, I removed the strings and pulp and rinsed them. I divided the seeds into two 8-inch glass baking dishes, then sprayed them with olive oil cooking spray. I seasoned one batch with curry powder and the other with sumac. (I had never used ground sumac before but discovered it while on an ethnic market cooking tour in San Diego as part of the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo last month. Sumac has a lemony flavor and is often used in Middle Eastern cooking on such things as rice, fish, kabobs, and meats.) I decided to try cooking the seeds in a microwave instead of the oven and found some guidelines online. Microwave for a total of about 7 minutes on high power, stirring every 2 minutes. Of course, microwaves vary in power so your actual time may be different.
I looked up the nutritional value for pumpkin seeds and found that just 1/4 cup roasted seeds provides 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sodium, and 3 grams of fat, all for and 74 calories.

Be sure to check out these other great blogs for more delicious pumpkin recipes.

Cherie Schetselaar - Grain Crazy Fresh Pumpkin Risotto
Alexandra Caspero- Delicious Knowledge Pumpkin Enchiladas 
Katie Hamm - Healthy & Happy Hour Pumpkin-Bacon Ravioli  
Alysa Bajenaru - Inspired RD Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Fries 
Everyday Tastiness Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Elizabeth Jarrard- Don't (White) Sugar Coat It Vegan Pumpkin Soup
 Kristen Bourque- Swanky Dietitian baked pumpkin oatmeal 
Marie Spano Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins 
Regan @ The Professional Palate Pumpkin Ravioli in a Walnut-Sage Cider Sauce 
Danielle Omar - Food Confidence RD Pumpkin Goulash 
Emma @ The Hearty Heart (Vegan) Cocoa Pumpkin (Whiskey) Mousse 
gretchen - kumquat baked mini pumpkins 
Emma Stirling - The Scoop on Nutrition Recipe Redux Chermoula Chickpea & Pumpkin Sliders  Recipe Janel Funk: Eat Well with Janel Pumpkin Pie Smoothie 
Nicole @ Whole Health RD Kaddo Bourani - Candied Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauce
Yuri - Chef Pandita Pumpkin Apple Soup 
Lisa @ Healthful Sense Pumpkin Cream Pie Filling & Pudding
Jessica Fishman Levinson - Nutritioulicious Recipe Redux: Pumpkin Pancakes 
Jane Schwartz, RD  pumpkin recipe
Kat Lynch - Eating The Week Pumpkin yogurt dip for waffle sticks 
Katie Caputo- East Meats West Pumpkin Stuffing  
Serena @ Teaspoon of Spice Whole Pumpkin Cheddar Gratin Whole Pumpkin Cheddar Gratin
Kristina @ Love and Zest Pumpkin Mash 
Carrie Miller - Nutrition Know How Baked Stuffed Pumpkin & Pumpkin Orange Muffins  
Ann Dunaway Teh - Eat to Nourish, Energize & Flourish Pumpkin, Squash and Apple Soup 
Kara Lydon - Peace, Love, and Food Pumpkin Yogurt Dip 
Stephanie Howard - Give Them Something Better Fall Harvest Chili 
Karman Meyer-Nutrition Adventures Pumpkin-Potato Breakfast Hash
Ayla Withee- Eat Simply Salt and Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds  
Heather Calcote - Dietitian on the Run Pumpkin Rosemary & Mushroom Quinoa 
Jill Melton-The Relish Dish Ham and Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin 
EA-The Spicy RD Pumpkin Pesto Bruschetta 
Liz Weiss & Janice Newell Bissex - Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen Ghoulishly Good Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin  
Diane Welland - Eat Well, Eat Clean Pumpkin Cranberry Scones