Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cheesy Chili Mac

Being in the kitchen, cooking and baking is a passion of mine.  I enjoy making delicious meals and baked goods for my family and friends.  I also enjoy trying new recipes and techniques and pushing myself outside my comfort zone.  There is something so rewarding and gratifying about taking raw and fresh ingredients that alone aren't that impressive and combining them to make something amazing.  Something that is worthy of sitting on a plate in a fine restaurant.  Normally time is not an issue to me; I go in the kitchen and start working on a meal with the mindset of "when it's done, it's done and we'll eat". 
Now, in a my perfect world I would always have time to make a delicious and elaborate meal that may (or may not) be very time consuming.  But if we're talking about the real world where I work full time, have a 2 year old and I have to have a decent and balance meal on the table in a timely manner I don't have the luxury of making a labor and time intenssive meal every. single. night.  Normally from the time I walk in the door until the time the Tucker goes to bed I'm running.  Running to make supper.  Running to clean the kitchen.  Running to get Tucker bathed and ready for bed...then finally in bed.  By the time my day ends and I can sit and relax it feels like I have run a marathon.  So having fancy 5 star quality meals aren't in the picture...during the week at least!
So, during the week simple is great.  Simple is a lifesavor.  Simple, one pot and good...now that's awesome!  That's exactly what I got when I tried this cheesy chili mac.  This recipe has been floating around the blogasphere for some time now...I think I might actually be the only person who hasn't tried this...ssshhhh, dont' tell!  Since so many people have tried it, I knew all the raving wasn't for nothing.  This meal has everything in one dish; starch, protien, vegetables and dairy.  This cheesy pasta dish is also the perfect way to sneak a few extra veggies in for those kiddos (and big kids adults) who don't normally eat their veggies.  This meal is quick, satisfying and full of flavor.  This is also one of those meals that is just as good for leftovers as it was initially.  I am so happy this meal was a hit with my family; it was a cinch to pull together and it's perfect for those crazy weeknights.  I'm sure this will be making regular appearances in a meal rotations! 

Cheesey Chili Mac

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Small onion, finely chopped
4 Cloves garlic, mined
1 Pound ground beef
1 Can Rotel
1 (15oz) Can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) Can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1-1 1/2 Cups water
2 Cups small pasta
4 Oz cream cheese
2 Cups Mexican shredded cheese blend
1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped


Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and allow to warm for about 30 seconds.  Once the oil is heated add the onion, chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and brown sugar and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the ground beef and cook through.

Add the 1 cup water, Rotel and pasta to the pan and stir to combine.  If the pasta is not covered by liquid add the remaining 1/2 cup.  Cover the pan, increase heat to medium and allow pasta to cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and beans and stir, once combined add the cream cheese and stir until incorporated.

Remove from heat, add 1 cup of cheese and stir to combine.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the pasta mixture, cover and allow to stand for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

Optional additional toppings- sour cream, green onions, and/or additional cheese

Recipe source: Adapted from Cook's Country via The Jey of Cooking

1 comment:

Jaida said...

This looks/sounds delicious!!

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