Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 58: Chili-Mac

Chili-Mac is a Kamenetsky family favorite and a standby, it usually follows close on the heels of a dinner of vegetarian chili - any version. This one followed the black bean chili we had a couple of nights ago. I started making a version of this 15 or 20 years ago when I bought the Once Upon a Recipe cookbook - a wonderful book of kid friendly recipes that I used a lot when my kids were little. There is a recipe in there called Curiouser and Curiouser Casserole and that is where the current version of Chili-Mac got it's start. That recipe called for canned vegetarian chili with some vegetables and pasta sauce added, "whole grain" elbow or spiral noodles, and tortilla chips.  When the kids were little and I looking for a quick dinner after work, I used to make the C&C Casserole with Amy's vegetarian chili, frozen corn and a chopped green pepper. The vegetarian chili I make now usually has peppers, corn & zuchinni in it, so there is no need to add extra veggies. I still do add pasta sauce - this batch was made with Jersey Fresh pasta jarred pasta sauce. The current version of Chili-Mac looks something like this.

leftover chili
pasta sauce (home-made or from a jar)
pasta (a spiral shape holds the sauce best, rotini is best, but cavatapi or elbows work well also. I use Barilla Plus for the extra protein and fiber, any pasta will work)
Cheddar cheese - grated (I use low-fat most of the time)

First I put a pot of water up to boil for the pasta. I always cook more than I need - leftovers go into soup or pasta salad or make lunch the next day with pesto from the freezer.
I mix 2-3 cups of chili with about 4 cups of pasta sauce in a casserole dish (a big enough dish to hold the pasta when it is added). I did not have any homemade pasta sauce on hand- so I used Jersey Fresh. I put that mixture into the microwave for 3-5 minutes on high to heat it up.

When the pasta is cooked, I add an amount of pasta approximately equal in volume to the chili/sauce mix to the dish and mix everything together. I adjust the amounts of chili, sauce and pasta so that the pasta is well covered with sauce and there is enough chili to get a good bit with each fork-full of pasta.


I sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Then I either bake the casserole at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or put it back in the microwave for 10 minutes at 70% power (or until it is heated through and the cheese melts).


I have a new camera. Can you tell?

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