Healthy (packed) lunch: Elk & Bean Chile Verde with Cornbread & a funny salad. 500 calories.

Ground elk & ground beef can actually be swapped out pretty easily. You may have to add some liquid or oil when you cook ground game though, it tends to be super lean.  I froze 2 servings & packed two for tomorrow.  You can make the salad dressing & let it set in the fridge a few days, but I haven’t tried freezing it yet.  It’s just so easy to make.  And tasty.  And healthy.  And funny.


Recipe, pretty straight from

Elk/Beef & Bean Chile Verde. 4 servings, ~1 1/2 C each

30 minutes total seemed about right to me 

  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground elk/beef
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (we only had some random thai spice. it worked)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 16-ounce jar green salsa, green enchilada sauce or taco sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed
  1. Cook beef, bell pepper and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  2. Stir in salsa (or sauce) and water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in beans and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat just before serving.

Cornbread.  Buy a packaged mix and follow the directions.  I used a 160 calorie/serving “sweet cornbread” bagged mix that I cooked up in a special skillet.  Whatever you use, I recommend preheating it to get the oil/butter/pam all sizzly before you pour the cornbread in.  It’s just right.

Wedge Salad with Tomayo Dressing (from the VitaMix recipebook)

  • Romaine lettuce hearts, quartered & cored.  Plan on 2 quarters per person.
  • Tomayo dressing
  • Bacon Bits (or crumbled bacon fresh from the skillet for you with time)
  • Figure out how to put the lettuce wedges on a plate & sprinkle stuff on ‘em.

For the dressing: (this makes 1 cup, enough for 4)

  • 1 lg tomato
  • 1/2 C low fat/cal mayo (we had a 10 cal/.25 cup jar to use…)
  • 1/2 t dried Basil (or way more if you’re like me. at least double it if using fresh basil)
  • 1/4 sm, peeled onion (or a shallot, if you have a bunch on hand…)
  1. Toss it all into the VitaMixer or food processor and whiz away until it’s smooth. 
  2. Tada.  It actually tastes wonderful, thick, and unhealthy.  But it’s less calories than a vineagrette.  Funny, huh?

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