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Pinto Bean Chicken Chili


Every now and then I love a little real-talk blogging. Today is one of those days.

The past year has been full of life-altering changes for me. I’ve shed many layers from my life…. and can I just admit that it’s all been incredibly difficult?! I’ve started my own business, traveled at least a week out of every month, lived in three states, and have literally been pulling my hair out trying to figure out where this is all leading to!

So what does this translate into? Basically working insane hours and jeopardizing A LOT. Honestly it’s been a complete struggle. I’m sure it’s something you might be able to relate to: failure, disappointments, and well… whatever life throws at you. Of course, I’m a huge believer that everything happens for a reason. My passion for success and a career in food pushes me every single day to keep pursuing my dream no matter how many times I fail. And trust me, I fail more than you know! My list of unsuccessful ventures will always be longer anything I accomplish; it will be for all of us. However, these failures push you to become better and to learn.

In a sense, I feel as though I’m in the middle of a transformation. I’m trusting my intuition and regardless of how difficult it becomes or what disappointments I find myself in, I’m both blessed and thankful to be on this journey.

So my question to you, is what pushes you to be the best you can be? What drives you to be better than you were yesterday?

I’m just a twenty-four year old girl who is literally obsessed with food, styling, photography and the inspiration I find in every day life. I’m not here to pretend I’m perfect in any way, because I’m not. I’m just explicitly in love with sharing my passion with you.

Oh sorry, that’s a bit obvious and this is getting preachy. Excuse me, let’s get to the FOOD!

I made this sensational chili last week and it reminded me of my Grandmother because she seems to always incorporate pinto beans into whatever she’s cooking. And for good reason, too! In my opinion, they’re one of the best comfort foods — flavorful and creamy in texture.

I devoured a bowl with a side of honey cornbread. Coincidentally, self reflection pairs perfectly with the chili too. Enjoy!


Pinto Bean Chicken Chili
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 286
  • Fat: 6.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.3g
  • Fiber: 6.2g
  • Protein: 31.2g

Recipe type: Healthy, Soup, Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

A chicken chili with pinto beans. Healthy, hearty and wonderful served with cornbread.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1 pound chicken breast (about 3 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until onion is soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more until fragrant then add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and a bit of fresh black pepper and stir for 1 minute more. Next add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, pinto beans, chocolate, cinnamon, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. To cook chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle or rub a tiny bit of olive oil over chicken and generously season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake 18-25 minutes, baking times differ depending on the size of your chicken breast but remember to cook until juices run clean. Alternatively you could use about 3 cups of rotisserie chicken. Cool chicken for 5-10 minutes then pull and shred chicken with two forks and add to chili, simmering uncovered for about 20 more minutes or until chili reaches desired consistency. Serve with fresh queso, cornbread or chips if desired. I love topping mine with a little bit of greek yogurt.
This recipe is freezer friendly and can also be made in the slow-cooker.

23 Responses to Pinto Bean Chicken Chili

  • dana says:

    Hi – I was unsure about adding this chili to my list of dinners to try until you mentioned your grandmother. Who is to argue with a grandmas wisdom of adding pinto beans or what have you to a dish. I hope this year turns out to be fantastic for you.

  • jlhoneyman says:

    Love chicken chili, one of my winter favorites!
    p.s. You’re doing great, girl. Passion for what you do will get you everywhere and will keep you happy more than sad while you’re doing it. I can’t tell you how many times a day I say to my girls (2 and 4 yrs old), “Choose to be happy.” Good lesson for us adults too, right?!

  • lee g. says:

    from someone who is twice your age, I am motivated by the years I wasn;t living my authentic life when I was younger. Those seemingly ‘wasted years’ plus my need to prove I’m not a failure, just because I have failed, is what keeps me ready for anything,. Seek the Truth and you shall find your truth.
    p.s. Knowing that I can’t go back to what I was before also keeps me moving in the forward direction.
    You agree?

  • What you say about life, struggles, success and failure, all so true! Don’t give up (not that you seem like you are about to anytime soon!) Remember to take care of yourself and eat more of the lovely dishes you prepare for us :) This looks like a delicious simple supper. Thanks for sharing, I love beans and I love making stew/ragu-like warming dishes for this cold season with tomato puree. Yum! :)

  • Lynna says:

    Hmm…thinking about it, I would say different things inspires me on different days to push me to become a better me. Most of the things that inspire me, I would say, are unexpected. Such as stories I hear/read, things I see in life, people I know, etc. :) I can`t wait to see what you`ll be doing. :) Good luck!

  • Rachel says:

    You are truly amazing and an inspiration. Keep up the fabulous work!

  • It sounds like we’re a lot alike and I really relate to everything you’re saying. There’s a lot on the line but I think we’ll always be happier for pursing our dreams instead of wasting life in a dull office job. Keep up the good work! I’m loving this chili.

  • girlversusdough says:

    Lady, I sooo know what you mean. It’s tough to take the good with the bad. But I think you’re on the right track with doing what you love, even if it’s not all sunshine and roses every day. Keep on keepin’ on! :)

    Also, I want this chili in my life like NOW.

  • Nizzi says:

    I enpathize with your reflection on so many levels. As a college student pursuing a business degree when my parents’ greatest dream was for me to become a doctor is difficult. But I’m following what makes me happy, and I’m a better person for it. With your drive and dedication, I’m sure everything will fall into place. Best of luck to you :)

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  • I think the very best motivator is yourself! Only you know how badly you want something, so only you can push yourself to get it. Even though your year has been filled with ups and downs, it sounds like it’s been a good one if you’ve been going for your dreams!

  • Laurence says:

    Ouf! I came here for a chili recipe and will leave with thoughts about where my life is going! Im 24 and never really failed, but only because I never try. And that I know I will regret.
    Here is a quote from Albert Camus that I was cogitating on:
    ” Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better”

  • Jess says:

    Monique – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts – I can definitely relate. I am a BIG fan of your work, and all this dedication will definitely pay off!

  • Oh baby! This chili looks amazing!

    I love the cute picture of you! Sorry I haven’t commented in a while. I need to get caught up!

  • The Omnivore says:

    My own passion is what keeps me going. And the desire to prove wrong everyone who said I “can’t” do something. Turn all those negatives into positives — that’s my motto!

  • Julie Ward says:

    Monique,I just made this chili and it is delicious!I am so excited to have a healthy chili recipe!And I love where you are going in life,as well as where you are!Thank you for making all of us feel human,and hopeful!Luv ya!Julie@jaward59@hotmail.com

  • Holly says:

    Would you use frozen chicken breast for the crockpot?

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