Easy Dinner: Chili-Mac


  • 12 oz elbow macaroni
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ green pepper diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 tsp to 2 tbsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

2 qt. saucepan and skillet

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain. While macaroni is cooking, heat oil in skillet, sauté onions & peppers. Add hamburger, brown & crumble. Add hamburger, tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt & pepper to drained macaroni. Stir, let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Chili Beans

Been having fun canning tomato sauces so I decided to branch out just a little bit.  Took a couple of pounds of dried beans, a pound each of red and black beans, and set them to simmering.  When they got soft I dumped most of the water and started ladling in tomato juice from the latest bucket of tomatoes.  Added garlic and chili powder, ancho sauce and some adobo sauce, some red pepper flakes, a touch of ground cayenne, some black pepper and some salt.  That’s been on a low flame all afternoon with the occasional addition of another ladle full of the ever thickening tomato juice.  Last thing to go in was a good amount of sliced pickled jalapenos.  When the quart jars are done in the dishwasher I’ll spoon the beans into them and fire up the pressure canner.


This went pretty well.  Couple of the jalapenos, a smallish onion or two, those green peppers, and most of the tomatoes.  Added a couple of dried ancho peppers all snipped small, a dash of chili powder, a few garlic cloves, a good squirt of lime juice, a bit of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  I predict it’ll be better tomorrow.  Not bad at all tonight.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bears Repeating: Grilled Sirloin w/Spicy Blueberry Sauce

The other day Kirk and Jeff were talking about how well savory and sweet go together.  And as luck would have it, I was prepping a special menu that was just that.  I’ve blogged this recipe before, but it is so good and great in the summer,  I’m going to repost here.  I usually use wild frozen blueberries, they have great flavor.  Once again:

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Fresh ground pepper (opt)

Saucepan and small bowl

Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal.  Goes great with garlic mash potatoes and sautéed zucchini.

Here is the original menu.

Guest Recipe: BadExampleMan

Oh, how I love his blogging handle and his blog name.  From the Accidental Recipe blog:

Roasted Potatoes with Sausage

A meaty variation on a family favorite!

  • 6-7 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-6 large cloves garlic or 1 T granulated garlic
  • a double handful of ground sausage
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 2 generous pinches kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • crushed red pizza pepper (optional)
  • 3 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 450F. Dice the potatoes and onion to 1/2 inch; crush and mince the garlic; crumble the sausage. Combine in a cast-iron skillet. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and pizza pepper. Drizzle on the olive oil and mix by hand until everything is well-coated.

Bake 30 minutes, turn well with a nonstick spatula and bake another 30 minutes.

Serve with brown gravy if desired.

I added some leftover rice to the leftover salad and it made a very nice, mild counterpoint to the spicy potatoes.

Stop on over to his blog and catch up on his adventures in cooking.  Looking forward to posting more of his Accidental Recipes (What happens when a guy looks in his fridge).

Vegetarian Black Beans and Rice

Something a little different, a Cajun-spiced black bean and rice dish.  Great served with some cornbread.

Vegetarian Black Beans and Rice

  • 1 cup dried black beans or 2 cans black beans
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh limejuice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese (opt)

2 saucepans

Dried Beans: Soak dried beans overnight, drain, rinse and add to saucepan, cover with water (about 3 cups), bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. When beans are tender, remove to serving bowl.

Canned Beans or cooked Dried Beans: Heat oil in saucepan, add onions and garlic, sauté for 2 minutes until onions are tender, add beans back to pan, add remaining spices, limejuice and cilantro. Heat on low for 10-15 minutes. Serve with rice and top with avocado, tomatoes and cheese.

Rice: In other saucepan, add rice, 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and let simmer on low until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

*to easily cube an avocado, halve, remove pit and score with a knife (don’t cut skin), then scoop out with a spoon.

Chicken Chili Soup

Mom really came through this last week, not only did she give me the Chicken Cacciatore recipe, but as a bonus she gave me a soup recipe she and dad really enjoy.  I decided to make it to take to work this week.  I’m going to make some cornbread (in my new skillet, of course) to go with it.  It should do the trick until the warmer weather arrives later in the week.  This is my version (I tweaked the original, of course):

Chicken Chili Soup

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups water
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp sliced pickled jalapenos
  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • salt and pepper to taste

large saucepan

In large saucepan, add chicken, vinegar, garlic and water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove chicken and cool.  Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 40 minutes, until barley is tender.  When chicken is cooled, shred with a fork and add back to soup.  Garnish with cheese if desired.  Serve with cornbread.

chicken with chilies and red beans

I had the long lens on the camera today, hoping to catch some more cool birdie pics,  I did take it off long enough to snap this one of the meal on a dish.  This is a whole lot like the chili everyone does so there won’t be any surprises in the recipe.

I took some leg quarters and browned them in a little oil in a sauce pot, then removed them for a while while I sauteed some onions and some cut up and seeded dried chilies.  When the onions were ready I added 4 cups of chicken stock and a generous heap of chili powder, some oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and several grinds of black pepper.  Stir this about then add the chicken parts back, red beans that have soaked overnight, and a can of diced tomatoes. Digging through the cupboard for the tomatoes I found a can of black beans so I rinsed those and dumped them in as well.  Cover and simmer for a few hours.  I wondered how to present this dish all day, decided to make some rice to go with it.  It’s a good way to eat it.  You could serve it in a bowl as you would chili.