Childhood Comfort Food: Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Chili Mac was one of my dinners almost every week growing up, I am the oldest of 6 kids and there were always a few extras at the table so this dish was filling, and went a long way. No matter how many people were at the table there was always enough for seconds. I crave it still to this day but I had to make a couple of adjustments. The original chili mac did not have any beans or cheese, but my kids said then it isn’t “chili” mac, (they love chili and beans) so I added a few ingredients but it still goes a long way and there are always left overs and best of all it reminds me of my childhood.

Chili Mac

1 lb ground beef

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 can tomato soup (condensed)

1/2 can of water

1 can red kidney beans (drained)

2 T brown sugar

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T chili powder

1 t cumin

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 box elbow macaroni cooked and drained

Brown meat and onions in a large skillet or pot for about 5 minutes, add garlic and saute until golden. Add tomato soup, water, beans, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Chili Mac

Add the macaroni noodles and stir, cook over low for about 5 minutes or until macaroni absorbs some of the sauce. Top with cheese and chopped onion if desired.

Chili Mac

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I’m a Little Bit Country: Classic Tomato Pie

As much as I like big bold flavors and exotic dishes, sometimes I just have to get back to my roots. Born and raised in the South, comfort cooking will always have a place in my heart and kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is old-fashioned tomato pie. I love this easy, take anywhere, dish. The tomatoes have been good here the last couple of weeks so I decided to whip one up. These are great for a vegetarian dinner, bring along to a potluck, picnic or party or as a side to some classic southern fried chicken.

1 9″ pie crust cooked ( I used the frozen variety)

2 large ripe tomatoes sliced

2 T chopped fresh basil

1 c mayonnaise

1/2 c cheddar cheese

1/2 c mozzarella cheese

1 T chopped chives

Salt

Cut tomatoes in slices, place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 20 min, so juices run out. Preheat over to 350.

Place a layer tomatoes in bottom of cooked pie crust

Sprinkle with chopped basil, then repeat with another layer of tomatoes and basil.

Mix mayo, chives and cheeses in a medium sized bowl

Spoon mounds of the mixture on top of the pie

Then smooth out evenly over pie and bake for 30 minutes or until top is browned.

Let cool before slicing, serve warm or at room temperature.

Beer Makes it Better: Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Beer makes everything better and that holds true in this recipe. Give your mac and cheese new life and depth of flavor with this little twist on a classic.

Beer Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni cooked and drained

4 T butter

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 c flour

2 t hot sauce

1/2 c beer

4 c milk

1 t smoked paprika

3 cups of shredded cheese

1/2 t pepper

1 t salt

Melt butter over low heat in a large oven safe pan, add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add flour and stir, cook 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add beer, paprika and hot sauce. cook 1 minute. Will become a thick paste like consistency.

Slowly add milk and hot sauce while whisking, bring up temperature to almost boiling and heat until thickened (so it coats a spoon). Add salt and pepper.

Whisk in cheese. I used Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan and Monterey Jack. This is a good recipe to clean out the cheese drawer in the fridge, try your favorite combo, the good thing is beer goes with all types of cheese.

Add Macaroni to pan, stir until macaroni is evenly coated.

Place in a 300 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and crust will form on top, add grated cheese and herbs if desired.

Serve as a main dish or as a side to your favorite meal, like Raspberry Chipotle Pork Chops

Beef Stroganoff, aka Fauxganoff

I usually try not to cook with pre made sauces, soups, dressings etc…, too much unneeded sodium, sugar, and weird ingredients I can’t pronounce. But there are a few family members in my house that will not eat mushrooms, I won’t name names. So for my quick weeknight stroganoff I use a can of cream of mushroom soup to get the mushroom flavor without any visible mushrooms. Some may call this trickery, I choose to call it delicious and comforting.

Beef Fauxganoff

2 T oil

1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced top sirloin

1/4 c chopped onion

1/2 t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/4 c flour

1 t  chopped garlic

1T sherry

1 c water

1 10 oz can of cream of mushroom soup ( I used Campbell’s)

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c sour cream

Toss meat and onions with flour, salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet and add meat and flour mixture.

Cook meat until browned on all sides, add garlic and sherry and scrape bits up from pan with a wooden spoon, (deglaze) Add soup, water and Worcestershire sauce, stir until combined and simmer for 5 minutes, stir in sour cream. Serve over cooked noodles, top with chopped parsley if desired.