Friday, June 13, 2014

Overnight Chili Cheese Mac

I read a recipe in an old cookbook for an overnight pasta bake. It intrigued me since I had never tried this method. I decided to give it a try with this chili cheese version. I mixed it all together in the morning and then baked it up at dinner time. It left me free
to help kids with their reading and piano practice during the regular time that I would have been prepping dinner. It came out wonderfully and we all enjoyed it!

I'm sure you could cook this as a skillet meal as well. Brown the hamburger or turkey in a large skillet. Add the additional ingredients, except the cheese. Cover and simmer until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Top with cheese just before serving. It would be a quick weeknight dinner done this way. 

One thing I have found that is important if you want to keep feeding your family home-cooked meals is to have options on timing. That is what this meal provides. I can mix it up in the morning or the night before or I can cook it on the stovetop and have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes. Options, my friend, make all the difference.

Overnight Chili Cheese Mac

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned
¼ cup dehydrated onions
1 tsp dried, minced garlic
1 ½ cups water
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine everything but the cheese in a greased 9x13 pan. You can use 1½ cups of pre-cooked kidney beans if you soak and cook your own in place of the canned beans. Stir well. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Uncover and sprinkle the cheese on top just ahead of serving. 

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