Saturday, March 23, 2013


Chili Mac

Rats. It is snowing here this morning, and while we need the moisture, it is a winter snow--small, icy flakes pushed hard by cold wind and made just plain mean. I much prefer the spring snows we get in Colorado--big, fat flakes, hitting your face like wet kisses. Typically, these snows occur at or slightly above freezing so the flakes don't last once they hit the ground.

While the calendar says it is spring, this kind of day sends me right to the kitchen to cook something toasty and to warm up our house. Today, I think it will be my special Chili Mac, with skillet corn bread (I will post this recipe later) and carrot and celery sticks. This recipe makes a lot, and will reheat beautifully for meals later in the week.

Note: The chili mac can be made spicier with the addition of hot sauce. I love El Pato's Hot Sauce, which is available in my grocery store's Latin American section. Typically I use only about 1/2 can because Dan gets an itchy scalp if food is too hot :) You can add more if your family can take it, or none at all. (See picture of the can below.)

Chili-Mac8-10 servings

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano--preferrably Mexican-style
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
El Pato Hot Tomato Sauce (optional--see note above)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can beef broth
2 (16 ounce each) cans beans--your choice: pinto, black, kidney, etc., drained and rinsed
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 pound cellentani or elbow macaroni (Barilla is the very best!)
Shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped green onion for garnish, if desired

In a large pot, brown beef, onion and garlic about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and stir for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot tomato sauce, and beef broth. Fill broth can with water and add that as well. Stir in beans and brown sugar. Lower heat and simmer with lid askew for about 30 minutes.

While chili is simmering, fill another large pot with cold water; when boiling add salt and pasta of your choice. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and stir in a little olive oil.

When pasta is cooked and chili is done, serve the chili over the pasta and garnish, if desired. And, yes, I do! This dish tastes great with the addition of the garnishes.

I usually serve the chili over the mac for the first meal and then add the leftovers together and refrigerate. It is simple to scoop out and reheat a bowl anytime you want one!

Add as little or as much as you like!

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