Friday, March 1, 2013

Cheesy Chili Mac

Along with the fact that I do not like raw tomatoes, I also don't like chili.  Thankfully this meal reminds me more of Velvetta than it does of chili.  That bodes well for KK because this is one of his favorite dinners.  One day I'll post a "KK's Top 10" list.  One day...  Anyway, because this is one of his favorites, and the fact that he was starving last night, KK only gave me what felt like two seconds to snap a picture of the Cheesy Chili Mac before he dug into this skillet on Wednesday night:

With limited cabinet space in the apartment, KK decided that we'd finish up an open box of gemelli instead of opening a new box of elbow macaroni (and only using half of it!).  I ended up adding more water, and cooking the pasta for 16 minutes - I think that's because gemelli takes longer to cook than elbow macaroni.  Watch the pasta as it cooks to make sure you don't over cook it.  Most importantly, stir frequently so you don't end up with pasta sticking to the pan!

Cheesy Chili Mac
Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures 
Serves 2-4
Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups water
16 oz tomato sauce
8 oz small pasta, such as gemelli or elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Set a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the oil.  Heat until shimmering.

2. Add the onion, chili powder, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the ground turkey and cook until it is no longer pink.

3. Stir the water and tomato sauce into the ground turkey mixture in the pan.  Add the pasta and stir to combine.  Cover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high.  Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 12-15 minutes.  Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking.  Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer.  If the water evaporates and your pasta isn't cooked through enough, add another 1/2 cup water, stir, and cover the pan for another 2 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat under the pan and add 1 cup of the cheese.  Stir until cheese melts, then season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and cover the pan again.  Let stand for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts.   

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