Monday, January 28, 2008

Man Food: Cheesy Chili Mac

I think I'm running out of ideas for man food, because it took me DAYS to decide on this concoction for yesterday's Man Sunday in our basement.

But credit must be given where credit is due: Mr.W asked for it.

Mr.W was raised on prepackaged dinners and convenience foods, and these continue to be his favorite comfort food. Now I like a good box of macaroni-and-cheese dinner, myself, but only on occasion and not as a regular part of my dinner repertoire.

My love would prefer the opposite. But I digress.

As we wrestled for ideas to feed the men, Mr.W said, "How about Chili Mac?" Of course he meant the hamburger helper variety, but I knew I could make it better.

Here it is.

I need not have worried--the men gobbled it up like it was their last supper.

Cheesy Chili Mac
serves 6 hungry men

olive oil
2 to 2-1/2 pounds ground beef (I used 93% lean beef mince)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
2/3 cup chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste, optional)
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce, plus 4 canfulls (32 ounces total) hot water
1-1/2 pounds elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
2 cups shredded cheddar or favorite cheese (I used a colby-jack blend I found on sale)

Set a large pot over a medium flame. When pot is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil and the ground beef; cook, stirring often, to brown.

Stir in salt, paprika, oregano, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Mix in tomato sauce and water; remove from heat.

Stir in cooked elbow macaroni and one cup shredded cheese. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350*F or until cheese is melty.

What I did: I made up the meat & sauce mixture the night before and put it all into my crock pot insert and refrigerated; the day of the event I cooked up the macaroni, stirred it into the meat-sauce concoction, stirred in the cheese, topped with more cheese and left it on high for a good hour before the men ate.

So to continue planning meals for these men, and of course in honor of the upcoming superbowl, what are some manly, economical foods that you serve?


Lulu said...

I'm reading this at 9:31pm...starving. Due to being on Weight Watchers, I had a 1/2 baked potato from Wendy's, topped with 1/2 small chili and a packet of low-cal sour cream for dinner. Sigh. Chili mac would be awfully good right now.

RecipeGirl said...

Comfort food at it's best! Sometimes that's what I crave too. I had to LOL- my hubby grew up eating things like "Cheese Casserole," which was pasta baked with like a pound of cheddar and a few canned tomatoes thrown in.

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