Just say no to those boxed helper mixes. They can be convenient, but try reading the ingredients list. It’s just as easy to make your own Skillet Chili Mac at home. This version will stretch that pound of hamburger even farther, and it’s much better for your body.
You probably stock most of these ingredients already. The canned items are handy to use, but if you have leftover homemade ingredients, go for it!
Skillet Chili Mac Recipe
1/2 pound curly elbow macaroni (or your favorite pasta shape)
1 pound ground beef (preferably 80/20 ground chuck)
1 cup diced onions
1-1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (16 ounces) prepared pico de gallo or chunky salsa
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans or black beans, drained, divided use
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped mild green chiles
1/4 cup (2 ounces) sliced black olives, optional
1/4 cup diced bell pepper (green, red, or yellow is fine)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente while you prepare the chili mac.
Place a large, deep, heavy skillet over medium heat. When pan is hot, brown the ground beef and onions, breaking up the meat, until meat is no longer pink. (Leave some larger chunks.) Drain off any excess grease. Stir chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pico de gallo or salsa into the meat.
Remove 1/4 cup of the drained beans and mash with a fork. Add the mashed beans, the remaining drained beans, corn, tomato sauce, green chiles, and black olives to the meat. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble. Stir in bell peppers, chopped cilantro, and drained, cooked macaroni. Remove from heat.
Garnish each serving with shredded Mexican-blend cheese, green onions, a dollop of sour cream, and chopped cilantro. Serve with squares of cornbread.
Yield: 8 servings
• Heat factor will depend upon the spiciness of the pico de gallo or salsa that you choose. Stir in hot sauce to taste for additional heat.
• This recipe is easily modified to use chicken. Chop leftover or rotisserie chicken into bite-sized pieces to measure 3 cups. Saute the onions on their own in a touch of olive oil until they soften, then add the chicken and proceed according to the instructions.
• Variation: Cook up the mixture and omit the pasta. Serve it like a chunky gravy over cooked white, yellow rice, or cornbread.
BSkillet Chili Mac Recipe Photo ©2018 Peggy Filippone