What's For Dinner: Skillet Chili Mac


The second one-pot meals book I picked up recently from the library was The Best One-Dish Suppers by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. Cook's Illustrated is another magazine that I subscribe to on my Kindle - I like the publication's mixture of recipes, cooking technique how-tos, and product reviews. Like the magazine, this book is quite text heavy and features more pencil drawings than full-color photos (although there is a small section of full-color photographs in the middle of the book). Recipes are accompanied by equipment and product recommendations.

Though the content is a bit dense, I still found myself looking through each recipe (there are over 175 of them!). The first recipe I earmarked to try was this recipe for skillet chili mac (which is called Tex-Mex Macaroni Bake in the book). This is a true one-pot (er, skillet) recipe, which I love.

This one-skillet meal comes together in less than 45 minutes, making it an ideal meal for a weeknight dinner. And, speaking from experience, any leftovers reheat quite nicely for lunch the next day.

Skillet Chili Mac (printer-friendly version)
makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound 90-percent lean ground beef (I prefer grass-fed)
2 cups filtered water
1 15-ounce can organic tomato sauce
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cup frozen organic corn
1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chiles
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the ground beef, breaking it into smaller pieces with the edge of a wooden spoon, and cook until evenly browned, 3-5 minutes.
4. Add in the water, tomato sauce, and macaroni and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer, cover, and cook until the pasta is tender, 9-12 minutes. (Stir every couple of minutes to ensure even cooking.)
5. Remove the skillet from the heat and add in the corn, chiles, and 1 cup of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over top the pasta. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

(adapted from a recipe in The Best One-Dish Suppers by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated)