It has been a bafflingly hot winter. I wore a shirt sleeved shirt on Christmas, for Pete’s sake! But the time to complain about the strangely warm weather has passed.
Now, it’s time to complain about the sudden arrival of the cold.
Courtesy of Budget Bytes, here’s a nice, hearty meal to warm you up.
Chili Cheese Beef n’ Mac (w/ Spinach)
Prep Time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
2 cups (1/2 pound) dry macaroni
½ bag (approx. 2 cups) frozen chopped spinach*
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar
Brown the ground beef in a large pot over medium along with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once browned, drain off the excess fat. While the beef is browning, dice the onion and mince the garlic.
Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the browned and drained beef. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Once the onions have softened, add flour and cook for one minute more while constantly stirring. It’s okay if it coats the bottom of the pot, just make sure the heat is not so high that the flour burns.
Add the chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, tomato sauce, and 2 cups of beef broth (or beef base/bouillon cubes and water). Stir to dissolve any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Add the dry pasta, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is soft and has absorbed all of the liquid. Stir every few minutes to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom of the pot. If it gets dry before the pasta has fully softened, add a touch of water.
Once the pasta has finished cooking, add the frozen spinach. Once the spinach has defrosted and warmed, stir in the shredded cheese. Serve hot.
* I added frozen spinach, but there are tons of other possibilities here. Mushrooms and zucchini come to mind.