Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easy Breezy Summer Recipe

When you work all week you really hope your weekends will be restful... at least as much as they can be.  There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, especially in warmer weather and ESPECIALLY if you have children.  If it's baseball season, you can spend the whole weekend sitting at the ball field, or at least it seems like it's the whole weekend.  Been there, done that.  Next it will be swimming season, vacation season, summer camps, all those never ending summer activities we try to squeeze into every minute of every day.  And of course, there is the never ending yard work.  Mowing and trimming, trimming and mowing.

With summer rapidly approaching, you (the main cook) would like to spend as much time out of doors enjoying all the things you love to do too, instead of slaving over a stove.   But everyone still needs to eat.  Don't even think "carry out" although dinner can get later and later as the sun stays up longer and longer.  Mealtime can be stressful, especially if you are the one who makes the meals.  What to do, what to do?  Here is a quick and easy solution to make a weekend or weekday meal that is simple and easy, 30 minutes start to finish.  Our children loved this meal and so did I because it is so easy and economical!  It's Everyday Donna's chili mac.  Put away that box of Hamburger Helper!  It's not needed.  This quick dinner is tasty, easy, and will become a "go to" for you, summer or winter.


1 pound hamburger (I used local grass fed beef, it is more expensive but is much leaner, no fat)
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 TBSP chili powder (more if needed, we like it spicy)
2 cups shredded cheese (white Mexican, cheddar or mozzarella)


Dice onion, mince garlic cloves.  Put ground beef in large skillet, add onions and garlic.  Brown all together.  Add salt to taste.   Add dry macaroni, tomato sauce, and 1 cup water.  Stir, making sure all macaroni is covered by water.  Add chili powder.  Stir to make sure macaroni doesn't stick to bottom of pan.  Watch.  As water goes down, add second cup of water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until water has been absorbed and macaroni is done.  Taste.  Add more salt and chili powder if desired.  Put into casserole dish, top with shredded cheese.  Put in 350 oven until cheese melts.  Done!

How easy was that?  All natural ingredients, no preservatives.  This will serve 4 easily.  Dan and I have leftovers for tomorrow which is even better!  You can double this recipe easily if you have a larger family.  When all 6 of us were home, I always made more since the two boys could eat most of it.

This is so good served with a  green salad and some kind of bread.  Tonight, I heated tortillas and made honey butter for the tortillas.

Honey Butter

2 TBSP butter, softened in microwave
2/3 TBSP honey

Stir together until completely mixed.  Great to dip your tortillas in!  Helps cut the heat of the chili mac.

How to kick it up a notch!

Sliced avocado
sour cream
pickled jalapeno slices
Hot sauce

Any or all of the above can be added to your chili mac for a little more interest!  I put the "kickers" in a bowl so everyone can add what they want.   Such a quick and easy supper.  What more could you ask for?  Hope you will give this recipe a try.  We think you're going to like it.

Enjoy all the coming summer days.  I know we sure are!

Everyday Donna

Things to remember:

When you think you're in an impossible situation, take a moment to acknowledge that although you do not consciously know how to solve the problem, you know a solution exists and you're open to receiving it. 
Cynthia Occelli

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