jason keeps asking me to make "normal" food. i'm not quite sure what that means, exactly (unless he really does mean 1950s food...hmmm...), but when i saw this recipe posted when poking around the internet, i knew it would be a winner.
how can you combine meat, cheese, and pasta and not win?
but there just wasn't enough heat. surprisingly, not enough spice. next time i'm going to double the cumin & chili powder, maybe amp up the pepper jack, and maybe, just maybe, i really shouldn't have omitted the jalapeno from the original recipe.
a couple other tips -
- start the water boiling for the mac when you're prepping for the chili. i started the water later, when i added the turk to the pan, and the chili was done way before the mac. i should have timed it better.
- i didn't let the milk cook long enough to thicken before i added the cheese, so the mac & cheese was pretty runny - not enough to really be bad, but enough to want it thicker. next time, i'm going to wait a bit longer.
chili mac & cheese
adapted from life's ambrosia
30 minutes start to finish, 4 hearty servings
for the chili:
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, strained (without the juice)
14.5 ounces kidney beans
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
for the mac & cheese:
2 cups dried macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups 2% or whole (or a mix) milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded colby jack
1/2 cup pepper jack
- bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package.
- in a skillet, cook the turkey, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and garlic powder until meat is brown. remove meat from the pan.
- in the same skillet, heat olive oil over medium and cook onions and garlic. cook until onions start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. add meat back to the pan.
- stir in tomatoes and beans. add remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and hot sauce.
- reduce heat to low and simmer while you finish the mac & cheese. if the chili seems dry, add a little water until it's not soaked, but not dry.
- for the mac & cheese, strain the mac when it's done cooking. put the pan back on medium heat and melt the butter.
- whisk in the flour for one minute. slowly whisk in the milk and cook for one minute.
- add the cheeses, season with salt & pepper, and mix until melted.
- return mac to the pan and stir until evenly coated.
- remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
- mix the chili into the mac and cheese until well incorporated.