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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Kale, Potato, and Pork Soup

Hearty, Yummy, and Easy. This is a perfect weeknight meal for fall or anytime of the year. The vinegar added at the end adds a nice flavor and brightness to the soup.

Kale, Potato, and Pork Soup

1 yellow or white onion chopped

2 large potatoes cut into bite sized chunks ( I left the skin on)

3 T olive oil

1- 1 1/2 lbs ground pork  (substitute any ground meat that you have on hand)

3 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 t  black pepper

1/4 t red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 T Italian Seasoning

32 oz chicken broth

1 T balsamic vinegar

In a large heavy pot, add olive oil and heat over med high heat. Add potatoes and onion and cook for about 3 minutes, add ground meat, garlic, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until Meat is no longer pink. Add carrots, Italian Seasoning and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve.

Fettuccine with Bacon Tomato and Arugula

This hearty pasta dish is an easy meal to make on a busy week night.

Fettuccine with Bacon Tomato and Arugula

6 slices of bacon chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 small yellow onion chopped

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c half and half or cream

1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese (more for serving if desired)

1 c arugula

16 oz cooked fettuccine or other pasta

in a large pan cook bacon over med high heat for 3 minutes, add garlic and onion and cook until bacon is crisp about 3 more minutes.( Surprisingly, I did not need to drain any bacon fat at this point but I know some bacon can be fatter than others, if you find that there is a fair amount of grease in the pan, strain it out before adding the rest of the ingredients) Add tomatoes, 1 T vinegar and stir, getting all the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan,

Turn heat to low cook until tomatoes glisten and have a slight wrinkle on the skin, about 2 minutes. Add half and half or cream, stir and add parmesan, heat through. Remove from heat add arugula and remaining 1 T vinegar. Toss together and serve. Top with more parmesan if desired.