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Monday, June 6, 2011

BBQ Chili Mac

Chili mac is an awfully versatile recipe that has gotten a bad rap from the versions found in product recipe books and fundraiser cookbooks.  It does not have to be high in fat or salt or low in vegetables and nutritional value.  It also does not have to be boring.  Please take a look at the recipe below.

I use up odds and ends of pasta for chili mac.  You can use any shape or combination of shapes, but I tend to break up the 2 or 3 lasagne noodles that are almost always left in the box into large "rags" of pasta.

You can do this recipe in 30 minutes, start to finish, without any prior prepwork, if you can devote 30 minutes to attending without distraction to chopping, sauteing and so on. 

You can chop the veggies and measure the liquid/sauce ingredients the morning of or night before Dinner Day.  Then it will still take 30 minutes to cook, but you can be more distracted during that time.

You can chop the veggies, measure other ingredients, and freeze them in a freezer kit.  Saves you night-before or morning-of prep time. 

OR you can cook the chili mac ahead of time, freeze it along with pre-measured cheese, then bring just reheat (from the frozen state, even, no thawing required) on the stovetop or in the microwave, and throw the cheese on at the end.

Choices, choices...

BBQ Chili Mac
Makes 6 servings

1 tbsp bacon fat, mojo de ajo or olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey (or beef, pork, or chicken)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups bbq sauce
3/4 cup water
1 15 oz. can beans (black, kidney, pinto or northern) or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
1-2 tsp chili powder (optional)
1/4 lb. pasta
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat fat in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add meat and brown well.  Add chopped veggies and saute 5 minutes or so, until softened.  Drain if there is an excessive amount of fat in the pan.

Add sauce, water, beans and chili powder if using and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta, reduce to a simmer over medium heat and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle cheese on top just to melt and serve. Pin It

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