Monday, September 12, 2011

Chili Macaroni


Chili is not a dish I have ever consumed, nor plan to. (Probably not the best way to start off this post in hopes of others cooking this meal.) I remember being a small girl and my mother throwing a chili party. All I ate were the Frito chips sitting next to the pot of chili. (Carboholic in the making!)  Oddly enough, my mother, who had cooked all of the chili, did not consume a lick of it either, but everyone loved it! (My mom is also a vegetarian, so maybe it's not so odd.) As a vegetarian, chili just doesn't appease me. I don't know what it is? Even vegetarian chili doesn't excite me. Maybe if it were served over rice I would be interested in it? Who knows? So I find myself in that place again, cooking something that I don't care for, but attempting another challenge nonetheless.

About a year ago Hubby and I were going through our existing library of cook books. If you saw it, it would resemble a picture of what you see next to the word pathetic in the dictionary. It's a very small collection of books that we've both collected post college. (He has more books than me and I've never seen him cook!) Some old, some very old (We're talking photos of ladies with bouffants on top of their head holding cakes) and some new. There are two that we occasionally use, one is a vegetarian cookbook and the other is an old school Betty Crocker cookbook.

Hubby was perusing through the Betty Crocker book and came across chili macaroni. I was in the process of making the macaroni and cheese recipe, which was to the left of the chili macaroni recipe, when he requested it. So with the rest of the elbow macaroni I had from the macaroni and cheese dish I made chili macaroni. He loved it and devoured it! Unbeknownst to me, many people seem to love this dish! I must be some sort of anomaly, because most people who consume this want it again and I hate the smell of the house when I cook it. Hubby and Bambino love it. It's one of the few dishes Bambino will scarf down without any fuss. Sometimes I worry that she's consuming too much of it just for taste! I've also had friends request this recipe so it must be some good stuff, if you like chili.

I do make this dish often since it has such a high approval raiting. Again, I'm baffled at what it is that makes it taste so great? The pasta, the meat, the beans, all of it combined? Perhaps. But then again, there are plenty of people out there who don't comprehend that I'm a vegetarian strictly because I don't like the taste or smell of meat and seafood. (And many cheeses!) Call me an anomaly.

This is a pretty easy dish to make. It's a one stop s hop (my favorite) and doesn't take to long to cook. If you like chili, try it, I'm sure you'll love it.

So I got this recipe out of Hubby's cookbook, Betty Crocker's New Cookbook. New no more! The book was published in 1996. Thus, I have no link to this recipe. If you really want to check out the original, order the book off ebay.

Click here for a similar recipe that basically just promotes Betty Crocker products.

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 pound lean ground turkey meat
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked kidney beans (Or 1 - 15 oz can, drained)
1 ear of corn with the kernels cut off (Or 1 cup frozen)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (I get no salt added)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste (I get no salt added)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (Optional, I normally do not use this.)
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Cook elbow macaroni as directed on package.

2. While macaroni is cooking, cook turkey meat, onion, garlic and bell pepper in a large pot that you have sprayed with PAM cooking spray. Stir occasionally, until beef is browned. Drain.

3. Bring mixture back to pot. Add kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin. Mix to stir. Add macaroni that has been drained. Bring to boil and then reduce to low. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you use no salt added tomato paste and sauce, check for taste. (I added about 2 teaspoons of salt)

4. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top. (Or eat it like Hubby, with saltine crackers crushed on top.)

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 4
This is a pretty easy one to make and is loved by all. I prefer using raw beans when I cook, so I just have to remember to soak the kidney beans the night before and cook them in the pressure cooker before making the dish. Seriously though, if you like chili and you like pasta, try this dish.

This is another one that is in heavy rotation and is a weeknight meal because it doesn't take much work to do!

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