Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to Mend a Broken Heart: Chili Mac

It seems like just yesterday that winter dragged me into its lair, kicking and screaming. It didn't care that I wasn't ready for subzero temperatures or black ice. No, winter didn't care what I wanted. It decided that it was time to get cold and start snowing and I have been "enjoying" it ever since.

I make no secret of the fact that I am a summer girl. Always have been. Always will be. So why do you live in Colorado, home of some of the best packed powder in the world you ask? Well I have no idea, but I will say that Colorado not only has great snow for skiing, but also the most beautiful summers that I have ever seen.

For the past few months I have been a little gloomy knowing that the cold and yuck will still be hanging around for awhile longer, but lately I am starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, a couple of ads have popped up on my sidebar advertising coats and winter apparel at 70% off. Now that's a hopeful sign if I've ever seen one.

Another good sign is the NFL playoffs and the granddaddy of them all, the Super Bowl. I always look at the end of football season as one more hurdle to tick off my list on the way to summer fun. While not as exciting as the Super Bowl, my football lovers really enjoy the excitement of the post season games, even though their beloved Broncos won't be taking part this year. Yep, as you may well know, Sunday was a bad day for the Broncos, but not as bad as Monday was for their coach.

Anyway, there was an upside to Sunday here at my house. Before leaving the house for my day of shopping and lunching, I made my football watchers one of our old time favorites, chili mac. This super simple, economical, one pot wonder is loved by everyone around here. It is meaty and cheesy for my husband and straight forward and simple for my son. Just simple good casserole eating, perfect for comforting broken hearts. You know now that I think of it, maybe I should send some over to the Broncos' camp.

Chili Mac

Feel free to spice this one up to your liking. If I have any on hand, I like to add a little chipotle powder, adobo sauce or some smoked paprika for a smoky spicy flavor. You can also add some jalapeno or poblano peppers with the onions if you like a peppery flavor. 

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 - 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup beef bouillon (or beef broth)
2 tablespoons chili powder (mild or hot depending on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups large elbow macaroni (cooked to package directions)
1 cup grated cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

Place ground meat in a large skillet set over medium high heat. Cook, breaking meat up until it is browned.

To the browned meat add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, bouillon, chili powder, cumin and coriander. Stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste before gently folding in the cooked macaroni.

Sprinkle with the grated cheese while still hot and serve immediately.

Serves 4 - 6

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