Friday, February 14, 2014

COLD DAYS, CHILI NIGHTS

I used to laugh at people who constantly talked about the weather, but if you were snowbound and couldn't get out of your house, you would too!  I haven't blogged much this week because A) we've lost power a few times and B) we have received a total of 24"+ of snow this week and I've been SHOVELING for days!!  Did I mention how bone chillingly, friggin cold it's been at night, too?  But, yes, I do love it so much.  The other night we lit a fire to warm our bones and I cooked up a delicious spicy chili macaroni to warm our insides.  This simple recipe is from my new favorite cookbook by the folks Cooks Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen, "The Best Simple Recipes" that cook in 30 minutes or less.  If you have a Valentine and haven't figured out a gift yet, buy this fabulous cookbook and surprise him or her by cooking one of the meals. This is not a soupy chili, rather a more hearty macaroni with a kick..and it's pretty darn healthy too! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE!

SNUGGLE UP TO YOUR HONEY:
Here are the ingredients guaranteed to keep you warm on a chili night!
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1 onion chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
6 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo (be careful with these..a little goes a LONG way and I've made fire shoot out of our ears a few times for just using a tad too much! Save the rest in the refrigerator for next time)
2 cups elbow macaroni
3 (10 oz) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes and green Chile's
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
shredded pepper jack cheese for top

1.) Begin by cooking beef in a dutch oven over medium high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and chipotle and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2.) Add macaroni, tomatoes, broth, and beans to pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese and serve.