Low Carb Chicken Nacho Bake

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It’s January… we are all still working on our New Year’s Resolutions I’m sure. I am continuing mine! The hubby and I are planning an anniversary cruise in the fall, and I do NOT want to be embarrassed when I put on that bathing suit. So… toning up, working out, and CLEAN eating is to be had! A lot of gluten free, low carb (except weekends), less eating out etc etc etc. You know the drill.

This recipe… mmmmmm!!!!!!!!!! DE-LISH! It’s filling, and takes care of that craving for nachos, and junk food… while being filling and full of protein and good fats! It’s a little bit on the “cheat” side with the bacon… but don’t skip it! It adds that perfect flavor!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 3 frozen chicken breasts (I used Trader Joes… my FAVORITE!)
  • 1½ cups cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • OPTIONAL red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 half small onion diced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter (for extra flavor, but NOT necessary)
  • 1 large jalapeno,
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preparation: Heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. If you haven’t, microwave/cook your bacon and cut/crumble into pieces
  3. Combine and mix together salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle and rub spice mixture over chicken pieces. Drizzle on olive oil on top of seasoned chicken and rub pieces together to evenly distribute oil. Melt the TB of butter in a large OVEN SAFE skillet on medium/medium high. Once melted, BROWN the chicken on both sides to really get those spices into the chicken. (DON’T cook through, just cook until brown on both sides… 2-3 minutes per side)
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and turn off the stove top. Cut the chicken into bite size (about 1″x 1″) pieces and return to the pan.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients (BUT NOT THE AVOCADO!! That’s put on after it comes out of the oven!!) on top of the chicken in the skillet and place into the oven. Make sure that the salsa is poured over everything in the skillet to give it a bit of liquid to cook in. (MAKE SURE YOUR PAN IS OVEN SAFE!! You can also bake it in a baking sheet… I just didn’t want to dirty 2 dishes.)
  6. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until hot, bubbly and delicious smelling (and the chicken pieces are cooked through).
  7. Remove from oven sprinkle avocado over top and serve immediately.
    *Optional: Serve with sour cream and chips!

And that’s it!!!

ENJOY!

 

And now, again, instead of a quote, I’m going to share ANOTHER of my new favorite songs to sing and dance to in my kitchen… also by Jordan Feliz:

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Leftovers Skillet MishMash Meal

One thing that I have found since I have started this food blog, is that every time I go to a restaurant… I become very… weird about food. I like, want to dissect it. I want to know the ingredients to see if I can re-create it. I want to see if I can figure out what spices they use… if I could make it better! Any other food blogger out there experience this? What happens after that, is that you go BACK after you’ve re-made the dish… and you like YOURS better. That’s what happens when you re-make a dish to suite your specific likes. I’ll have to do this with a dish soon and post it. I love restaurant make-over dishes, OR copy cats!!!!

By the end of the week do you have a fridge and freezer of very little vegetables, a couple pieces of chicken that didn’t quite get eaten and half of a jar of spaghetti sauce? Do you ever wonder WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM??? Well… you do THIS!

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Depending on how many leftovers you have: mine served 4 people

Ingredients

1 TB olive oil
1 TB butter (optional)
1/2 cup low sodium FF organic chicken broth (or water)
1 zucchini sliced and halved
2 chicken tenderloins cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 onion chopped
3 yukon gold potatoes – washed, sliced and cut into bite size pieces
3 carrots peeled and washed and chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 jar (or more if you have it) of Vodka Sauce (or any leftover spaghetti sauce)
1 large handful of organic spinach

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Directions:

Thaw and chop your chicken from previous meals. You can even use whatever leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey that you have! Heat the 1 TB olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and carrots. Sautee until the onions become translucent. Add the diced potatoes and the chicken broth (or water). Stir around and add the lid and let simmer until the potatoes become soft (test with a fork). Remove the lid and add the zucchini, chicken, butter, and spaghettis cause. Stir until well incorporated and has started to simmer again. Let this simmer until the zucchini is cooked to your liking. I like mine still a bit crunchy, but some like their’s almost to mush… Up to you! Then, right before you serve, add the spinach and the parmesan, toss and SERVE!

This was SOO good, so easy, and really great to empty out my fridge of the last few items of things right before I went grocery shopping. Then you don’t have a mixture of old with new!

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And now, for the quote of the day:

Lettuce Wraps- with Chicken, Avocado and Bacon!

So, I was in a little accident a couple of weeks ago (thankfully NOONE was hurt!), and my car was totaled. Pretty sure it was because I had an older van that wasn’t worth a lot… so when it came to repairing it, the parts just cost way more than the van was worth. Oh well! So… we are blessed to have an awesome insurance company and ended up being able to shop for a “new” to us van! I will tell you one thing though, shopping for a vehicle is hysterical with children. They are VERY opinionated. We went and saw this one van and the moment we got into it, my daughter said, LOUDLY, “Mom, I do NOT like this van at ALL. It stinks and is dirty”. Lol! Well, I don’t think the car salesman was surprised when we didn’t come back to purchase said vehicle. Ha! The one we DID end up purchasing, she kept whispering to me “can we keep it mommy? REALLY, can we keep it?”. I took that as a good sign! 🙂  Kids are just too funny! My son, 3, just kept climbing all over everything and pushing all of the buttons. Hopefully he didn’t cause issues in the vehicles that we did NOT buy!

So… having that done, BACK TO COOKING!

I made these a couple weeks back… and they are DELISH!

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Bacon and Avocado!

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken tenders or one chicken breast; seasoned, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • 4 iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Diced sweet mini peppers – about 2

Creamy Avocado Dressing

  • 1/2 Avocado diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 Tb vinegar (I used flavored vinegar) like rice or white balsamic
  • 2 TB honey
  • dash of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 TB olive oil

If this dressing is too thick, just add more of whichever liquid you prefer. You can also add some lemon juice.

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Directions:

Prepare the creamy dressing in a blender or, like me, in my Nutri-Bullet. Set aside for topping lettuce wraps.

To prepare the lettuce wraps, divide the diced chicken among the four lettuce leaves, then top with avocado, tomatoes, bacon, shredded cheese, diced peppers and creamy avocado dressing.

To eat, simply pick up the wrap, tuck in all sides and ENJOY!

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And now, for the quote of the day from a Carrie Underwood song:

As bad as it was as bad as it hurt I thank God i didn't get what I thought that I deserved sometimes life leads you down a different road when you're holding onto someone that you gotta let go someday you'll see the reason why sometimes yeah sometimes there's good in goodbye

Spanish Potato Hash and Egg Breakfast… For Dinner!

So, the other morning my mom stopped by on her way to work to see the kids, as she frequently does. And… if she does NOT, my daughter is SURE to call Grama and remind her… she needs to stop by! 🙂

Anyway, my mom had stopped by and my little girl wanted to tell her a very sad story that her oldest cousin had told her. She says to my mom… “Grama, P told me that when they were driving her to visit… they say something on the road… and it’s so sad… they saw a dead PIMPLE on the road!!!”. I had to leave the room. Oh my word! HAHAHAHA! My mom, who has had much practice in not bursting out in inappropriate laughter when children say the wrong word for things, very sweetly says to my daughter: “oh, you mean a Pit Bull?”. My daughter, not missing much of a beat says “oh, yes, a Pit Bull…”. Ha! Pimple…

And now… as I giggle and smile to myself, I am going to finish this blog post with one of my husbands latest favorite meals. He chose this recipe for me to make, and it has honestly been one of his absolute FAVORITES. He even rationed the leftovers so he could have it for as many meals as possible! HA!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth – fat free and low sodium organic and free range
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup salsa (of your choice)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1-2 sweet mini peppers diced (if desired)
  • 1/2 lb to 1 lb. breakfast sausage
  • 1½ cups spinach
  • 1½ tsp lime juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 + eggs – depending on how many people are eating

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Start by cooking your sausage in a large skillet. While the meat is cooking, dice your potatoes, onions and veggies.
  3. Once the meat (sausage) is about cooked, add the potatoes, the diced onion, peppers and the cumin, paprika, garlic powder and chicken broth. Place the lid on top and let simmer (to cook the potatoes). Let simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are starting to soften.
  4. Add the spinach, salsa and the lime juice and toss until well incorporated. Create 3-4 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes depending on how runny you prefer your eggs. OR… put a splash of water in the skillet, put the lid onto the pan, and let the eggs cook to your desired done-ness.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve with slices of guacamole. You can also top with a bit of shredded cheese and some hot sauce as my husband did. 🙂

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ENJOY!

And now, for the quote of the day:

BBQ Shredded Chicken and Potato … bake… nachos?

I really don’t know what to call this! I may go back in a few days and change the name and edit it… but in this moment, I don’t know. I basically had leftover crock pot shredded BBQ chicken (which I will give my recipe for, because it turned out AMAZING!) and then I added a bunch of other ingredients that sounded AMAZING and kind of like nachos…. but not. Ha! Also, I baked it, and I have since decided, it needs to be cooked on the stove top. I make skillet veggies almost every day for lunch and when I use potatoes, they always end up nice and tender. These potatoes in the dish were not soft within the time period that I baked it! It was annoying! So… I will give my recipe, with notes on how to either make it in the oven long enough to have the potatoes be nice and tender… as well as how to make it on the stove top.
So… here goes!

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This is for 4 servings

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Pulled BBQ Chicken
      – 8 chicken thighs, 1 bottle of your.      favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby  Ray’s Original), 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 TB Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Cook in crock pot on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5 hours. When finished, shred with a fork, and SAVE THOSE LEFTOVERS! 🙂
1/2 can natural black olives, sliced
2 yukon gold potatoes, washed and diced
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 can black beans RINSED
2 TB your favorite salsa (I used black bean and corn TJ salsa)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 avocado sliced
Garnish: sour cream
Optional: corn chips or tortillas for eating!

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Directions:

To bake:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Placed diced potatoes and shredded chicken and salsa into a glass baking dish (8×8 will work) and drizzle with 1 TB olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes  (OR until potatoes are soft!). Then, remove pan from oven and add the remaining ingredients, stir around, ending with the cheese (do NOT put the avocado on until you serve… add as a garnish). Bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until it’s hot and bubbly!
Serve as a burrito on a tortilla, or in a bowl with some chips like a nacho dip!

On the stove top:
Melt 1 TB butter in a large skillet (12 inch probably). Place potatoes and salsa into the skillet and cook on medium high until potatoes start to soften. Add the BBQ chicken, and stir well. Add more BBQ sauce if needed. Add the corn, black olives, and black beans and stir until cooked thru. Turn heat off and top with cheese. Let cheese melt… you can place lid on until cheese melt to speed up the process. Serve immediately topped with a bit of avocado and sour cream!

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I honestly wasn’t sure I was gonna blog this because it didn’t turn out perfectly and it was basically ingredients I thought to myself : that would be good together… so I put it together. … nothing gourmet or well thought out. But then my husband said he LOVED the leftovers. I also realized that some of the best recipes come from random ingredients thrown together. I hope this inspires all of you out there to experiment! Even if it fails, you tried something new and you were creative in the kitchen! Win!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Sauteed Summer Veggies and Bacon over Cheese Grits

Leftovers… seems to be the theme this week! I guess that’s not a bad thing, right?! Who wants to throw out the leftover bits of food in their fridge? Not me! I like to try to use it here and there before it goes bad! I freeze a lot of leftovers so I have time to use it. Sometimes on the weekend I copy what my mom used to do. I remember, when growing up, we used to have 1 day a week where all of the leftovers would come out of the fridge or freezer, be heated up, and that was our lunch or dinner. We didn’t want to waste good food! So these past few recipes have been me using up food from previous recipes this month. Works well!

This one I actually made for lunch! And I was able to whip it up really quick since I used leftovers!!

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Ingredients:

3/4 to 1 cup of leftover (or fresh!) cheesy corn grits (or leftover polenta!)
1 small zucchini
1 large carrot
1 piece of bacon
handful of chopped baby spinach
1-2 TB unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
optional topping of parmesan cheese
1 TB chopped onion (I used some leftover onion I had storing in my freezer)

 

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Directions:

Start out by chopping your carrots, and zucchini. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add your zucchini and carrots first. After they start to cook, add the onions and bacon and let the onions caramelize. While this is cooking, heat up your grits, either by cooking from scratch, or if you have leftovers  you add 2-3 TB of water (because the grits absorbs all of the liquid when it’s stored in the fridge) and microwave for 1-2 minutes until it is smooth and creamy again. Place the grits into a small bowl or onto a small plate and set aside. At the last minute, when the veggies are slightly browned, but still have a bit of a crunch, toss the chopped spinach into the pan and let just slightly wilt. Pour the veggies over the grits and add parmesan cheese if so desired and serve (or eat!) immediately! Enjoy!

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This dish is bright, colorful, crunchy, creamy and filling! Give this quick dish a try today!

And now, for the quote of the day:

#inspirational #quotes

Spicy Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Over Corn Cheesy Grits

I’ve been missing blogging! This last week after traveling, my grocery budget was VERY small, and we ate A LOT of leftovers. Sometimes that happens! Gotta clear out what we’ve got in the freezer and pantry. I am so thankful that we have that luxury too. So thankful!

So after using up a lot of leftovers I got to start fresh with my food planning! I did have a couple of things to finish up though: Andouille sausage and a bit of shrimp. I thought… why not combine those?? What can I put those on to make a filling and delicious dinner… because those 2 things by themselves, or even together isn’t quite filling enough… THEN, I found a bag of corn grits in my freezer! Voila! Dinner!

So, this dish doesn’t take that long at all, 30 min start to finish and dinner is on the table!

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This serves 3-4 people (depending on size of servings)

Ingredients:

2 “links” andouille sausage (they usually come in a pack of 4. If it comes in a large single link, you could use just half… or use all of it and double the remainder of the recipe) sliced into “medallions” or small bite size pieces
1/2 pound of shrimp
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup corn grits
3/4 cup shredded cheddar or the mexican blend cheese
3-4 TB butter
1 TB olive oil
2 tsp cajun seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

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You want to start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees (do not use convection if your oven has that option). Then, pour your chicken broth into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add your corn grits and cook to the directions on the packaging.

Once the grits have started, take the shrimp (I bake them from frozen) and place them onto a foil lined baking sheet. Make sure that if your baking sheet doesn’t have raised sides, to make your tin foil have the sides up to make sure none of the juices spill over in your oven. Lay the shrimp out onto the foil in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle the cajun seasoning generously over the shrimp and make sure they are evenly covered. Dot the tops with a bit of the butter (about 1 of the TB) and place into the oven and bake for 12-13 min (depending on the size of your shrimp).

When the grits are close to finished (usually takes 25 to 30 minutes for a thick and creamy consistency) and you are about to take the shrimp out of the oven, drizzle about 1 Tb olive oil into a skillet and place the andouille sausage into the heated oil in the pan. Cook until hot all the way thru and a bit browned.

When the grits are done, remove them from the heat and add 1-2 TB butter, and 1/2 cup of cheese and stir until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the grits immediately and top with some of the shrimp and sausage. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese over top each bowl and enjoy the spicy flavorful heat!!!

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As much as I usually don’t like anything spicy… this was SOOO GOOD! I didn’t think I liked grits either… but if this is what they are supposed to taste like, I’m sold! YUM!

Try this one for a spicy, warm, comforting dinner that’ll fill you right up!

And now, for the quote of the day:

❤️

“7 Layer Salad” … or Taco Salad…

My daughter asked for tacos again. Ha. She’s obviously her father’s daughter. She ate GREAT tonight. Me, I wanted to make something that was using the same ingredients, but using less carbs. So… I saw this salad, or “7 layer dip”.. although I can’t see using this as a dip honestly. I also should have put this into a clear bowl so that all the layers could have been seen from the outside when I took pictures. It was quite pretty to be honest! And, as I was about to take a picture it fell… and I was so sad!

But… this is a DELICIOUS salad, or … dip… but it’s a bit messy. That’s ok though. It makes up for the messiness and lack of being a “pretty” dish with flavor. That’s all that’s really important anyway!

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 lb. grass fed ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 cup PLAIN Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese
  • 1 tomato sliced and diced
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of black olives, sliced
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of salsa

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Directions

Start by cooking the ground beef through until there is no longer any pink. Drain the fat. Then, add the taco seasoning and the amount of water said on the back of the taco seasoning packet. (If you use homemade taco seasoning, it’s about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of water). Stir until well incorporated. Add 1/2 of the black beans to the hamburger meat.

Next chop the lettuce, black olives, tomatoes and the avocado. Place the avocado in a small bowl and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and the garlic powder. Stir and set aside.

Starting with the lettuce on the bottom of a bowl, add each layer on top of the next, ending with sprinkling the cheese on top. I then drizzled salsa over top.

You can eat this as a salad, like I did… crunch a few chips over top to still get a few chips and crunch in without eating as many chips as you would have if you ate the whole thing with chips… or… go for it and just eat it with scoops chips! Delicious either way right?!

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See, a delicious, messy and just a #getinmybelly moment!!! 🙂 ENJOY!!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Hang on

Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Do you want something creamy, and yet with a kick of heat at the same time? Something cheesy that still makes you sweat?! Who doesn’t!???? Right?
This dish is IT! And, it’s filling and yummy. Like, real yummy. (You’d never know I was an English major in college would you? I’m not going to discuss how long it’s been.)

This dish takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete, and only 1 pot dirtied! So, if you get home late, pop it in the pan with almost all of the ingredients, simmer… finish and serve! Love these types of dinners!

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Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Turkey Kielbasa cut up
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1/2 cup half&half
  • 8 oz dry pasta (I used whole grain spaghetti, you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach chopped
  • garnish with parmesan cheese and a bit more spinach (chopped)

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Instructions

  1. Add Olive Oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic powder and onion powder and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, and half&half. Sprinkle spinach in and let wilt.
  4. Garnish with parmesan cheese, and a bit of extra spinach.
  5. Makes about 4 servings. YUM!

And, my favorite things to cook and stir with, that also makes sure that I don’t scratch my awesome pans are:

Ioven 8.5 inch Silicone Spatula Set of 4

Totally Bamboo 5-Piece Utensil Set

wpid-1427934476316.jpgAnd now, for the quote of the day:

68862c0186259549b50f179b218fbf9e

Chili Cheesy Homemade Hamburger Helper CopyCat

Today was absolutely crazy… so much so, when my husband came home from work dinner wasn’t even started! So, I picked something quick and filling… very reminiscent of those Hamburger Helper dishes I had as a kid and in college. Lately I’ve started to try and make dishes that are not processed and don’t come out of a box. So, how do you make such a dish from scratch? It’s seriously a lot easier than I thought it would be!
This is one that the whole family would enjoy and just gobble up! I have a feeling that even the leftovers are going to be amazing! You could even use leftover chili with this one and just kind of add a few ingredients to make this yummy dish!

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 lb. ounces 85/15 grass fed organic ground beef
3 cups vegetable stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can canned black beans drained and rinsed (or you can use kidney beans!)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8-10 ounces uncooked pasta (I used egg noodles, you can eve use elbow pasta)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 TB unsalted butter
3 TB half&half
1 tsp cornmeal (optional!) For thickness and flavor

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INSTRUCTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic powder, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 5-10 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; REMEMBER to drain the excess fat.
Stir in vegetable stock, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Add the 1 tsp of cornmeal and stir in.
In a separate pan, melt the butter and then add the half&half. Do not let boil. Drop in 1/2 cup shredded cheese and stir until a smooth cheesy sauce. Should only take 2-3 minutes total. Pour into chili mac pot and stir until well blended.
Top each serving with some shredded cheese!
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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Enjoy! This one will definitely be made again. Simple, not too spicy, and quick!

And now for the quote of the day… this one made me giggle!

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