Sometimes I get weird cravings. Yesterday I got a craving for Hamburger Helper. I haven’t had it since I was a kid, and then I only ate it maybe 3 or 4 times. It wasn’t that great, but I started thinking yesterday there’s got to be a way to make it really good. Since yesterday was also my son’s first day of preschool, I wanted to make him a dinner he would love. Since he also loves macaroni and cheese, I knew this dish would be a hit. I added most of the same spices i would to a homemade chili recipe. Then I added macaroni and shredded cheese. It was really easy, and I loved that it was a one pot meal. He doesn’t like chili because it’s too spicy, so I left out the chili powder.
Chili Mac Recipe
1 lb lean ground hamburger
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
chili powder to taste (optional)
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups beef stock
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 cups mild cheddar shredded cheese
2 cups chopped fresh roma tomatoes, or 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
freshly chopped cilantro, as garnish
1. Preheat a large skillet. Drizzle with olive oil. Add ground beef, onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook until beef is browned and vegetables are tender.
2. Add cumin, paprika, oregano, cilantro and salt and pepper to ground beef. Add chili powder at this step if you want a spicier dish. Add tomato paste, kidney beans, diced or canned tomatoes and beef stock. Bring to a boil and add macaroni.
3. Turn to a simmer and cover. Cook until macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and mix until blended.