Hearty Chili Mac

When the weather turns cold, I turn to comfort food.  Who doesn’t?  There’s something about a bowl of chili that warms you up from the inside out!  My children didn’t used to like chili.  Until I started making it with pumpkin, but that’s a whole different blog post.  However I have found that any time I add noodles into the mixture, I can tell my kids that it’s a noodle dish with cheese and they’ll love it.  Anyways, the other day I decided to make chili mac.  Basically, it’s chili with macaroni noodles mixed in.  For extra carbs.  Because who doesn’t love extra carbs?  Hah.  And I told the kids it was a noodle dish with cheese.  And what do you know, both of them ate it.  I used brown rice noodles because that’s what I had on hand and you couldn’t tell the difference at all!

Brown rice noodles are a good alternative whole grain pasta.  They have a very mild flavor and don’t get super mushy when cooked. I sometimes will choose brown rice noodles over regular pasta…they still have carbs, but it just feels like I am eating healthier.  I’ve tried a lot of alternative pastas (black bean, quinoa, shirataki, etc.) but the one I think I’ve settled on as my whole-grain alternative pasta is brown rice.  The kids don’t even know it’s not “regular pasta.”

So back to my chili mac.  Start by sauteing the onions, garlic and bell peppers in a little olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.

dsc_0934

Add ground beef.  Crumble and brown.  Cook for about 7-10 minutes.  Then drain fat.

dsc_0935

Add chili seasonings – salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin.  Mix well to combine.

dsc_0936

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans and 2 cups of water (if using cooked noodles omit the water).

dsc_0937

Stir in 10 oz brown rice noodles (uncooked).  You could use regular noodles too.  If using cooked noodles, omit the extra water.

dsc_0938

Cover and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, until the noodles are cooked through.

dsc_0939

Remove from heat.

dsc_0940

Serve with cheese and green onions (if desired).

dsc_0945

Recipe:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper (or any color) diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 14 oz can kidney beans
1 – 7.5 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water (optional if using uncooked noodles)
10 oz brown rice noodles (or regular noodles if desired)

*green onions and shredded cheese for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and bell peppers in olive oil.  After about 4-5 minutes, add the ground beef. Crumble and brown the meat (about 7-10 minutes).  Drain the fat.  Add salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin.  Mix well to combine. Then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans.  Add 2 cups of water and mix well *note: if using cooked noodles, omit the water.  Add brown rice noodles.  Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes (until noodles are cooked through) and the chili mac is of a chili consistency (not like a soup).  Remove from heat.  Serve with shredded cheese and green onions.

Enjoy!

Caroline