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EatingWell: A healthy twist on chili and cornbread

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In this healthy casserole recipe -- sometimes called tamale pie -- the cornbread gets crusty at the edges, thanks to a cast-iron skillet. For the best texture, use yellow cornmeal with a medium grind. Serve with lime wedges for a little extra tang.

Cornbread-Topped Chili Casserole

Serves 5

Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups

Active Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided

2 cups chopped onion

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 pound lean ground pork

2 cups diced zucchini

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, divided

2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thawed)

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

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1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and chili powder; cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add pork, zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the pork is no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add corn and tomatoes with their juice and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, whisk cornmeal, baking powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, buttermilk and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in another bowl. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture until combined. Spread the batter over the pork and vegetables. Transfer the pan to the oven.

Bake until the cornbread is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe notes: Depending on your supermarket, it might be hard to find a lean option for ground pork. But it's easy to make your own in a food processor. Choose a lean cut, such as loin or tenderloin. Cut into pieces and then pulse in a food processor until uniformly ground (being careful not to overprocess, turning the meat into mush). Or ask your butcher to grind it for you. Using lean pork instead of regular ground pork saves up to 164 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat per 3 ounces of cooked meat.

Recipe nutrition: Per serving: 491 calories; 21 g fat (4 g sat, 8 g mono); 92 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 12 g total sugars; 28 g protein; 8 g fiber; 670 mg sodium; 999 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (42 percent daily value), Vitamin A (38 percent dv), Magnesium (30 percent dv), Potassium (29 percent dv), Iron (25 percent dv), Zinc (22 percent dv), Calcium & Folate (18 percent dv)

3 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving(s)

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat

(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at



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