Cajun Mac & Cheese

No big story here. I asked Chris to cycle through my Food Network Magazines until he found a recipe he wanted me to make during the week. It took him all of two minutes to find the recipe and demand (nicely of course) that it be made immediately. And it was.

Cajun Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Food Network Magazine (March 2012)

* 12 ounces wagon-wheel pasta (my store did not have this... can you believe that?)
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 6 ounces andouille sausage or other cajun sausage, chopped
* 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced (I omitted this due to lack of decent looking scallions at the store)
* 1 bell pepper (green or red), chopped
* 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 2 cups whole milk
* 8 ounces sharp-cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I grated to make melting easier)

To Make:
* bring pot of salted water to boil. add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta
* while pasta is cooking, combine olive oil and sausage in a skillet over high heat. cook until sausage browns, about 2 minutes. Stir in scallions and pepper and cook until pepper is soft, about 3 minutes.
* add cajun seasoning and flour. stir for 2 more minutes. gradually whisk in milk and cook until sauce is smooth and thick, about 5 more minutes
* stir in cheese until melted, add some of the reserved water if sauce is too thick. stir in pasta, and stir until nicely coated with cheese sauce.

Serve immediately. Chris topped his with a little extra seasoning (cayenne pepper or cajun) to spice it up a bit. It wasn't too spicey on its own (Alex ate it just fine) but has lots of creole-y flavor!

No Bean Chili

Chris hates beans in his chili.
I enjoy beans in my chili.

Guess who won that battle?

Ok, let me rephrase that...
Guess who is the better of the two spouses and would willingly make sacrifices without complaint for the other's happiness?

That's right... I'm that selfless spouse :) Hence the title of the blog being 'NO BEAN chili'

I didn't take a picture of the final product (topped with sour cream and mild grated cheddar) because we were all too busy woofin' it down. Whoops.

I've made my fair share of chilis, but this was BY FAR my favorite recipe because it had the most veggies in it, and didn't have that greasy, heavy feeling- it was about as light and healthy as I can see beef chili being :) Originally, this chili is a stovetop chili, but I made the crockpot version because there is nothing better than your house smelling like amazing chili all day. Scentsy should make that into a new scent... just sayin'.  If you don't want to/or have a crockpot, the stovetop edition of this recipe can be found on the link to the original recipe below.

No Bean Chili
Recipe adapted from Deep South Dish.

Dry Seasoning Ingredients:
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning (why did we never own this sooner?)
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Wet Seasoning Ingredients:
* 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
* 2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet (I omitted this)
* Coupld dashes hot sauce (I omitted this as well)
* 1 6-oz can tomato paste
* 2 cans diced tomatoes (not in original recipe, I added these on my own)

Chili Base Ingredients:
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 medium yellow onion, diced
* 1 medium green pepper, diced
* 1 medium red pepper, diced
* 1/4 cup green chilies (I used 2 jalapenos)
* 2 lbs ground beef
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cups beef stock or broth
* 2 bay leaves
* salt and pepper to taste

Crockpot directions:
* Brown ground beef in skillet over medium-high heat. Drain. Transfer to crockpot. Add the dry and wet ingredients, veggies, and the rest of the chili ingredients. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.