When my special someone and I started taking family vacations last year, we spent a bit of time researching vacation meals. Time and again chili mac came up as a suggestion. Don't get me wrong, I love nothing more than to come home on a cold winter's night and cuddle up with a bowl of chili, but couldn't picture it as the ideal beach treat in August. This is the story of how I learned differently.
Meal planning got pushed to the back burner, because we had a more immediate challenge to overcome. The drive to the beach is a long one, and the passengers in the car ranged in age from single digits to adulthood. How on earth were we going to stay entertained? The solution was found and we headed to the beach. We arrived a bit past dinnertime and headed for the grocery store to pick up necessary supplies. Tired and starving, we wracked our brains trying to figure out what to have for dinner. Chili mac it was. We grabbed a few cans and a pound of meat and headed to the condo to cook. 20 minutes later we were sitting on our balcony in the ocean breeze with steaming bowls of deliciousness in front of us. So cheap, so easy, no wonder it's such a beloved vacation meal.
Yield: 8 servings
(Chili recipe adapted from Rachel Ray)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ small onion
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 96% lean)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
- Additional hot sauce to taste
- 2 cups stock
- 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
- 8 oz macaroni
Chop the onion and garlic (courtesy of our condo, the world's dullest knife). Open the tomato and bean cans. Set the tomatoes aside. Drain and rinse the beans.