Patty Wolfe of Boise, Idaho, was in search of a recipe for a chili like the one her mother made for dinner when she was growing up in Indiana. She thinks her mother got the recipe from an aunt who lived in Texas and recalled that it had elbow macaroni, cheese, kidney beans and chili powder in it — more like a cross between chili and macaroni and cheese. Both Wolfe's mother and aunt have died, so she was hoping someone from either area might have an old chili mac recipe to share.
Kay Frazier of Olney shared a favorite recipe for chili mac that comes from Cooking Light magazine. She's not sure how long ago she clipped the recipe, but the dish was an instant hit with her family and she makes it frequently. While Frazier can't claim that the recipe has roots in either Indiana or Texas, she did recommend it with complete confidence. She said it is quick and easy, kid-friendly — comfort food at its best.
It's perfect for a weeknight family supper or a potluck dinner. The recipe makes a ton, but not to worry if you're not feeding a crowd — it freezes and reheats beautifully. Feel free to spice it up with the addition of a little hot sauce or chopped jalapeno.
Trish Green of Towson is looking for the recipe for the country ribs that were served at the long-closed Haussner's restaurant in Highlandtown. The ribs had a tangy, not sweet-tasting, sauce.
Makes 8-10 servings
1 pound ground round beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 4 ounces uncooked)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Cook first four ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble beef. Drain well; wipe drippings from pan with paper towels. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in remaining ingredients except the cheese. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into individual serving bowls, top with cheese.