Chili-Mac with Cheese
I wanted something with a Southwestern-Mexican flavor, but I wanted to use some pasta as well. Hmmm, sounds like another ethnically confused dinner to me. Chili-Mac with Cheese should do it!
When I was in the Army, back when they still had Battalion cooks and hot A’s out in the Field, chili-mac was a regular. A lot of us carried small bottles of Tabasco Sauce so we would doctor it up a bit and it was a good, filling meal for hungry soldiers. It has been years since I had chili mac, and I had never made it; so tonight I had fun experimenting and it came out OK.
First I started frying 2 lbs of ground beef, extra lean in the big dutch oven. While the meat was frying I was doing some serious chopping of veggies and boiling water for the macaroni.
I chopped 1 medium green Bell Pepper, 1 medium Sweet Onion, 1 rather large jalapeno, 4 good sized garlic cloves, 1 quite large celery stalk. When the meat was about done I tossed in the chopped fresh veggies to stir into the meat.
Into the 4 quart sauce pan of boiling water I dumped almost a pound of macaroni (half white and half whole grain). I added some salt and some olive oil, boiled it for 7 minutes then drained it. I stirred the pot repeatedly to prevent it from sticking both during the boiling process and afterwards.
Into the pot of meat and veggies I added some seasoning. 1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder, 1 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper, a Teaspon of Cumin, and about a half teaspoon of Chipotle Chili Pepper and another half teaspoon of black pepper and salt. Most humans will need to cut back on the Cayenne or the jalapeno. The Chili mac came out quite spicy, which is how I like it. But it was a tad bit hot for Dawn, though she still liked it.
I added one small can of tomato sauce and two 15 ounce cans of diced, fire roasted tomatoes. Then I added two cans of Bush’s Chili Beans and a half pound of Velveeta Mexican flavor cheese. After the Cheese was all melted and stirred in I finally added the macaroni and stirred it all in real well.
All this time I had the fire on medium high.
I seriously thought about adding a can of corn, but by this time the 5 qt. pot was too full!
It was quite tasty, though a bit on the hot side for most. In retrospect I should have added the veggies a bit sooner as they were still a tad crunchy (celery) and I think I should have added the rest of the Velveeta.
As a first go at Chili-Mac&Cheese it was a success.