Chicken and Kale Chili–Secret Recipe Club Reveal

Chicken and Kale Chili (c) Rhonda Adkins-012

I am so excited for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal, the first one of 2013!  If you haven’t heard of this great ‘secret santa’ type group, you should check out their site.  Gurl, you wouldn’t believe who’s blog I got this month.  That’s right it was steaknpotatoeskindagurl.

Not surprisingly,  the first recipes I sought out were steak recipes.  Okay, would you believe that Desiree, Desi, Des didn’t actually have any steak recipes on her site?  She even joked about it, her only steak reference was a guest post that she did!

I about died laughing when I realized that!  So I sought out her tag cloud and next to menu planning and restaurant reviews she had plenty of chicken recipes.  Desi’s White Chicken Chili really stood out to me.  It’s January, it’s cold, and chili is the perfect recipe to chase away cold snowy days in Montana.

Chicken and Kale Chili (c) Rhonda Adkins-019

It’s a new year and most of us are full of healthful intentions, so I took her recipe and healthified it.  With my changes I reduced the calories from 455 calories to 304, upped the fiber from 7.1 grams to 9 grams, and reduced the fat from 12 grams to 9.5 grams (nutrition info calculated by SparkPeople).

It didn’t take much to convert it, I replaced the butter with olive oil, reduced the amount of chicken, added kale and substituted the 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese with fat free evaporated milk, fresh jalapeno and used the Monterey Jack cheese as a garnish/topping.

Yep, it was healthified and if you didn’t eat 3 bowlfuls like McGyver did (cause it was THAT good), the calorie count was better than a Lean Cuisine meal.  There was only one problem with the meal…that magical fruit had it’s affect, especially on McGyver after 3 big bowlfuls.

Desi has a ton of great recipes and her fun personality definitely shows on her blog.  I hope you all take the time to visit her.  And while you are checking out blogs make sure you check out all the other great recipes from Group C.


Chicken and Kale Chili
Serves 8
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
26 min
Total Time
36 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
26 min
Total Time
36 min
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 cup diced onions
  3. 4 cloves garlic,minced
  4. 1 tablespoon cumin
  5. 1 tablespoon oregano
  6. 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  7. pinch of cayenne pepper
  8. 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  9. 4 cups chicken stock
  10. 1 can fat free evaporated milk
  11. 1/2 pound cooked chicken, diced
  12. 2 (15 ounce) cans Cannellini beans or Great Northern beans
  13. 1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chiles
  14. 1 bunch kale, chopped
  15. 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and saute until tender and translucent about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add cumin, oregano, cayenne, minced jalapeno, salt and pepper, cook another 30 seconds to bloom flavors.
  2. Turn heat up to medium high. Add chicken stock, evaporated milk, green chiles, kale, chicken and beans. Bring to a boil and reduced heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Taste for additional salt and pepper. Garnish with grated Monterey Jack cheese.
The Kitchen Witch

Just a side note, I’m pretty new to the whole cooking with kale thing.  I had some extra kale and thought that I would toss it in some hot oil and cook it to go into some seafood pasta dish I was doing.  Much to my shock and surprise, when you add kale to hot oil it explodes….like popping corn without a lid.  Yep, made a big mess but McGyver and I got big laugh out of it.  I’ve been cooking for decades and still find myself learning in the most interesting and messy ways.

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35 Responses to Chicken and Kale Chili–Secret Recipe Club Reveal

  1. Debra January 21, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Steak or no steak, this is a great recipe, especially with the kale. I love sneaking kale into dishes without The Hubs knowledge for he has an aversion for cooked greens. 🙂

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      Thank goodness McGyver loves greens (and steak too).

  2. Melissa January 21, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    This looks delicious! I have a ton of kale from my garden stashed away in my freezer. I think I’ll have to pull out a bunch 🙂

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

      We’ve really come to love kale, I’ll have to try growing some this year. And freezing it, didn’t even know it froze well. Hopefully I’ll get enough to freeze some.

  3. Chris January 21, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    I would live on a soup like this. Delicious! (And, sorry about the Kale mess! Hopefully, you didn’t get hit with the oil!)

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      I totally got bombarded with the oil. Thank goodness I wear glasses…ugh, but what a pain to clean.

  4. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats January 21, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    I ADORE your little pots! And this soup of course 🙂

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      I love those little pots too, they remind me of a witch’s cauldron, haha.

  5. Veronica January 21, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Aw, I love Desi! I never even realized she had no steak recipes. For shame, Desi! haha! Well you picked a winner, and I love how you healthified it. YUM! BTW, I’m so very sorry for the photos on my post today, I feel esp bad since I was dishonoring you with them. I use a point and shoot and don’t even know if I can control the white balance, so the blue hue on them was so bad I had to really make them harsh looking in order to decrease it. But if you saw the before photos, you would be thanking me! 🙂

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Some point and shoots don’t have that option, nice job on changing the color. Course maybe you could start a new trend, blue food 😉 The dip looked great, you in no way dishonored me, just the opposite. Your post was very warm, even if your colors were cool.

      • Veronica January 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

        LOL I love how you put that!

  6. Kitchen Butterfly January 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    I love the colours, and the soup pot too. It must have been wonderful for McGyver to have 3 bowls. It definitely puts a new twist on chilli.

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      The kale adds a nice color. It was wonderful for McGyver to have 3 bowls, not so wonderful for me later on, wink, wink.

  7. veronica gantley January 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    It is a great time for soup around here. I may have to make this for the superbowl. This recipe looks absolutely amazing. I love the colors… my husband will go crazy over this one.

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      This is definitely a man dish, especially if you don’t tell them it’s healthy.

  8. Desi January 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Your chili looks good! Love the kale addition 🙂 And love that you healthified it. Sorry for the lack of steak recipes! I actually do have 2 steak recipes on my blog (both were guest posts cuz I wanted to showcase my love of steak, but one post has the recipe on my blog also). If you’re still lookin for steak recipes, check out my Filet Mignon with Creamy Mushroom Sauce, or Grilled Filets with Bourbon Butter. You can use whatever steak you like of course. This year my resolution is to post more savory dishes on my blog, that includes steak 🙂 Love your photos and your modifications!!

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Desi, you crack me up. I will totally have to try out your steak recipes (guest post or not). I’m sure McGyver would love the bourbon butter, and me, the mushrooms are calling my name.

  9. Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles January 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    What a GORGEOUS photo! I always find soup to be a pain in the butt to photograph but those pots you used really make it a visual treat. Great job!

    As for Desi, she’s such a funny girl and I’m honored that she chose to share one of her beloved steak recipes as a guest post on my blog :).

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Christine, ah so you were the honored one with the steak recipe! Soup is tough, real tough to photograph. My first blog post was soup and it looked, well, pitiful (and yet I was so proud of it at the time). If you get time, I did a whole post on how to shoot soup, check it out…it’s gotta a super secret good tip in it.

  10. misschelsmangia January 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and be completely content 🙂

    • Giggles January 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

      You and McGyver. This is going to be a regular in our house for sure.

  11. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} January 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    What a PERFECT soup for these chilly nights. Glad to be part of SRC with youl

    • Giggles January 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      It really is perfect for a chilly night, nothing like a big warm bowl of soup and some jalapeno to warm you up.

  12. Lea Ann January 22, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Nice recipe and love how you removed some of those calories. Those little pepper slices on top make such a great photo.

    • Giggles January 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

      Removing calories, smart, not putting the brakes on consuming them bad! Totally agree with pepper slices, they pop nicely.

  13. Feast on the Cheap January 22, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    How cozy and hearty does this look? Especially given the minus-1-million temps today.

    • Giggles January 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      When I made this we were at a nice -2 degrees F. Now it’s in the 40’s and I’m just wearing a sweater, no coat!!!!! Course that won’t last long around here.

  14. Karen January 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I love kale, but have never tried to fry it, so I’ll keep that in mind! I always have put it in soups. Looks yummy 🙂

    • Giggles January 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      In my head I thought it would react like spinach and get wilty. Maybe on a lower heat? Guess I’ll be sticking to kale chips and soups from now on.

  15. Liz January 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh, what a marvelous soup! Perfect way to fight off this winter chill. And I love your cool mini cauldrons 🙂

    • Giggles January 26, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks Liz, what witch doesn’t have a cauldron, or two 😉

  16. Jamie @ Cookin' with Moxie January 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    I use SparkPeople too – I love that site! I attempted to calculate the calories on the dip I made but wasn’t impressed so didn’t post it. I love the recipe you chose – I’m always looking for new ideas to use kale!

    • Giggles January 26, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Jamie, sometimes it’s better NOT to know the nutritional content!

  17. kristy @ Gastronomical Sovereignty January 26, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    aaaaahhhhh! where did you get your adorable little bowls??? love them! who thought chili could be cute?? 😉

    happy src reveal! xo, kristy

    • Giggles January 26, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      The bowls are made by Lodge Logic (my fav cast iron company), I had to order them online.