Friday, June 27, 2014

Quick Recipe - Chili Mac

Hey, Islanders,
I may not talk about it often but this Mama cooks.  Every night.  I also try to cook a balanced meal.  Every night.
Now, that doesn't mean I don't have my moments but... I believe if I make our food at home I KNOW what's in it...  can't trust everybody's everythang, ya know?  Over the years, I've gained some quick go-to meals.  I figured I should start sharing some of my go-to weeknight recipes for others who may be interested in meals that don't break the bank and aren't SO fancy they intimidate you from trying.  These recipes may not be pretty but they taste good :) They also are designed for my real cooks - the ones who try to squeeze something to eat into the 3-4 hours between the time they get home and the time they [should] climb into bed.  Can I get an Chandelier CHAN-DALAY?!

Are you lost by where that term came from? Read about it here!

I believe my inherent desire to ensure meals are prepared at home, and with as little "processed" assistance as possible, came from my parents.  They made sure we always had a home-cooked meal.  They didn't use store-bought or ready-made anything...  Things most people take for granted nowadays like homemade spaghetti sauce or gravy were always homemade in our house.  When I think about it, my parents used to make a dish called Chili-Mac.  It's what I relate Hamburger Helper to be.  It takes the same amount of time as Hamburger Helper but is MUCH healthier and makes more servings. 

I guess one could consider this recipe my version of Chili-Mac.  Enjoy!

- 1.25 pounds of ground turkey (because it cooks down more than beef, turkey is usually packaged in 1.25 pound packages)
- 1 package of low sodium taco seasoning (if you prefer to make your own, feel free to use your recipe for seasoning 1 pound of ground beef... don't judge me that I don't for this recipe because I want to dump and pour without having to smell and taste as I go)
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup of salsa (of your choice) OR chunky vegetable pasta sauce (I had some extra on hand)
- 1 box of macaroni noodles
- Black pepper
- 1/4 tbs minced garlic
1.  Brown turkey in skillet on medium-high heat (sprinkle with black pepper while it's cooking)
2.  Cook macaroni noodles according to package directions
3.  Once cooked, turn the heat down to medium.  Add can of diced tomatoes and stir until well-blended like so:
4. Add taco seasoning, garlic and  salsa (or leftover sauce).  Stir until the meat is well-blended with the seasoning (no clumps of seasoning): 
5. Add drained macaroni noodles to skillet. 
6.  Let mixture simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally (prepare the side salad during this time).
In the cooler months, I serve this dish with green beans.  As it gets warmer, however, I serve it with a light Mexican salad:
Lettuce of your choice (I use green leaf), corn, black beans, Mexican cheese blend, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, jalapenos (OPTIONAL) and dressing of your choice.
A satisfying meal in no time flat!  THE BEST PART?  Minimal dishes and enough for lunch the next day :)  I've used this dish as a last-minute meal for impromptu guests.  Here was our menu:
- Appetizer: Bean salsa (recipe coming soon it's SO easy) and chips
- Mexican salad (recipe above)
- Chili Mac
- Sugar cookie churros (recipe coming soon) served with vanilla bean ice cream
It's a great CHEAP crowd pleaser and is minimal stress on the host.  TRY IT and feel free to tweak the recipe for your taste!
Do you have any go-to recipes?  Do share in the comments! O and be sure to have a yummy weekend!


  1. Looks yummy! Love fast and easy meals!

  2. A favorite around here is chocolate chip banana pancakes! I use oatmeal pancake batter and add chocolate chips. Once added to the griddle, I add banana slices. We top it with powdered sugar. Super indulgent! We only have it about once every couple of weeks, because we want to keep our teeth, but the kids LOVE it.

  3. Thanks for coming by Dee! Your recipe sounds delish and I would LOVE to learn more about your recipe... Are you interested in a guest post? Email me if so (tmkeese[at]


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