Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creamy Chili Mac

The weather here can't make up it's mind. We were teased with warm (we're talking 40°) temps last week and then it decided to snow for a couple of days. Today we are back in the 40s. I can finally see brown grass in the backyard! Yes, we actually get excited about that in Alaska. It signals the beginning of "break-up," where all the ice and snow melts. It creates for some soggy conditions for awhile, but by May we should be nice and dry (fingers crossed!). I am ready to garden, sit out on the deck, and play outside with the kids all day long. Oh, and let's not forget the best more snow clothes for the kids!! Do you know how long it takes to put all that stuff on?

In the spring and summer, we are so busy playing outside that I don't spend as much time in the kitchen. Therefore, it is nice to have quick dinners that the family loves. One of our favorites is Creamy Taco Mac. It's like a homemade version of Hamburger Helper. But much better. I decided to mix it up a little bit and turn it into chili mac. I also changed the recipe so that it only requires ONE skillet. Perfect for a weeknight meal. I made this with just a little spice so that my kids would eat it, but feel free to add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes if you like it spicy. 

Creamy Chili Mac
Servings: 4

1.25 lb. lean ground turkey or beef
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
8 oz. uncooked pasta such as macaroni, spirals, or shells (regular or gluten-free)
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature (regular or light)
1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature (regular or reduced-fat)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican cheese
Salt and pepper
Thinly sliced scallions for garnish

In a large skillet, brown the meat over medium heat until cooked through. Drain off excess fat if necessary. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook for 1 more minute. 

Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, water, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to med-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. 

Stir in the sour cream, cream cheese, and shredded cheese. Add additional water as necessary to reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Top with thinly sliced scallions for garnish.

(Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free pasta.)

Source: inspired by this recipe from Delish


  1. I will make this when I get some ground turkey. Sounds like its really easy. Looking forward to making it.

    1. I hope you enjoy it! I love these easy, one-skillet dishes. You don't have to spend as much time cooking or doing dishes. Win-win!