Friday, December 14, 2007

From my favorite cookbook
--Skillet Chili Mac

Skillet Chili Mac
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Copyright 2006

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef I used ground turkey
1 onion, chopped medium
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped medium
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin I used about 1/2 tablespoon
8 ounces macaroni (2 cups)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree
1 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
8 ounces Colby cheese, shredded

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the fat.
2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the macaroni, tomatoes in their juice, tomato puree, water, brown sugar and drained beef. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the Colby evenly over the top, cover until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.

This is the cookbook that I recommend most. In fact, it's the only one I ever find myself recommending. I recommend it for beginners or anyone who just wants to start cooking more. Most people will recommend the Joy of Cooking (snore) or Betty Crocker (not bad but I don't have the sentimental attachment to it that many people do) but this is my pick. It's modern, it has detailed instructions, great pictures, a sturdy ring-bound binder design. It's definitely not packed with gourmet recipes (it's a Family Cookbook) but you could find recipes for family or company in this book.

This was great chili mac. I held back on the cumin a bit as I normally do but I think I could have added it all and not minded it. I should trust ATK - they usually know best. Well, I don't always agree with them, that would be odd, but they certainly do put a lot of thought and effort into their recipes and product recommendations.

I missed my regular grocery night due to bad weather. I was prepared but now I have to go a day later and I still don't have my list done. I'm feeling the holiday crunch. Maybe Stouffer's will take over my kitchen next week. Darn, I don't think I have room in my freezer for frozen dinners.

Blast From The Past: Easy Dill Pickles from June 2007. I miss those pickles. I can't wait to get my hand on pickling cukes again.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite cookbook?


ThursdayNext said...

Bittman's How to Cook Everything :)

I also love any Nigella cookbook because she narrates as she goes along...its fun to read.

Randi said...

I really love that cookbook too. I make the scalloped potatoes for every program that I cook for. Everyone loves them. The snickerdoodles are great too.

Stephanie said...

I love all the ATK cookbooks. I've left many not-so-subtle hints for my hubby that I want the ATK Family Cookbook for Christmas. I checked it out from the library a few times--most everything looks yummy. I also like that I can trust their recipes to come out well every time. It always upsets me when I've spent my time and food budget on a recipe that ends up in the garbage.

Colleen said...

I love Nigella to read because I laugh out loud. I love America Test Kitchen Family cookbook - my library has it but I know Santa is bringing it to me this year! But Sandi Richard cookbooks rock - she may only be in Canada. Life's on Fire - Cooking for the Rushed is amazing. Get your hands on it if you can.

Heather said...

I have to agree with your choice of this cookbook. Oddly, I don't own it, but I do recommend it. I don't know what my favorite cookbook would be because I rarely use one for more than a couple of recipes. I am so finicky!

Brilynn said...

Do I really even have to say that Dorie Greenspan's Baking is my favourite? But I do like the Bon Appetit Cookbook for general stuff.

Anonymous said...

Love this chili mac recipe it's almost that same as the the one they put is cooks illustrated's 30 minute cook book--which america's test kitchen is part of CI. I have 3 fav cook books. I second Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything--great reference. And 2 others b/c I have a 1 and 2 yr old and little time but dont' want to sacrafice taste. Martha's Everyday Food and the CI 30 Minute Meal cook book. I have many other cook books might say I'm a CB junkie!

Anonymous said...

We really like this recipe too and have had it three times - classic comfort food! I love America's Test Kitchen too. I have the opposite obsession - I am working on making every recipe in my 6 cookbooks, which include the Family Cookbook here, KAF Whole Grain Baking, Ben and Jerry's Icecream and Dessert book, Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris (gift), ATK's Cooking for Two 2009 (gift), and The Mixer Bible. And 15 Cooks Country, Cooks Illustrated and Entertaining issues, plus a one inch binder of online desserts and two inch binder of online recipes (mostly from ATK's three websites) - those are part of my goal too. It has been about five years and I am maybe halfway through? Then again I make a lot of things multiple tiimes. I don't want anymore cookbooks so that I can someday reach my goal, but I keep making the finish line longer by adding online recipes to the binders LOL. Anyway, it is about the journey, not the destination, right? Love your blog so much!!!