Sunday, September 14

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CHILI MAC CASSEROLE RECIPE

Chef Dad's Chili Mac Casserole

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. Box of Elbow Macaroni

3 Cans of Chili (about 45 oz. total - use your favorite)

1 Can Rotele® Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies*

1 lb. Box of Velveeta® Cheese (cubed) {not the big 3 lb. box!}

1 Stick of Butter

2 Cups (one pint) of Half & Half

½ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Black Pepper

2 Cups of Crushed Frito's® (about 2/3 of a 15 oz. bag prior to crushing)

Crushed Red Pepper (optional)

COOKING:

Get a large pot of salted water over high heat, but don't put the macaroni noodles in yet.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray the bottom & sides of a large, deep casserole dish and set aside.

Make your cheese sauce by combining your butter, half & half and cubed Velveeta in a medium sized saucepan over medium low heat.Add ½ teaspoon of salt plus ¼ teaspoon of pepper into the pan and stir every few minutes until the cheese has melted completely.Don't be in a hurry during this step, low and slow is key here so we don't burn the cheese.If you're using the optional crushed red pepper for some extra kick, add it to the pan now.Use about ½ teaspoon.When the sauce has become nice and smooth, turn off heat, cover the pan and set aside.

Once your water comes to a boil, add the macaroni noodles.Stir immediately and stir often to prevent the noodles from sticking together.When the water comes back to a boil, set your timer for one minute less than what the box instructions call for.After that time, drain the noodles in your colander until the steam stops rising then put them in a large bowl.Add your chili, canned tomatoes and cheese sauce.Mix well then pour ingredients into your casserole dish.Spread your crushed Frito's over the top then bake for 30-35 minutes max then remove and serve immediately or cover with a towel until you're ready.Try not to wait too long or it will lose its moistness.

Cooks Notes: *Rotele is canned diced tomatoes & chile peppers that can be found in the canned tomato & tomato sauce isle of your grocery store. While this dish can be made in advance, I don't recommend it because the noodles will absorb all your sauce and come out of the oven a little dry.

Football Party? If you're planning on serving the food at halftime, start preparing the dish after the opening kickoff then put it into the oven shortly after the 2nd quarter gets underway.Now that's timing!