My favorite way to use leftover chili (and a few tips!)
With three kids and two jobs, time is a rare commodity for me – and I know for many of you too. One of my goals here is to share as many tips for making meal planning (and prep!) as streamlined as possible. Take-out is a reliable convenience – and believe me, one I don’t hesitate to turn to – but with a few tricks up your sleeve you can get a home cooked meal on the table more often than you think. And stress-free too, I promise!
This pasta bake is a perfect example. If you recall my chili and cornbread recipe earlier in the month, I had you double the dry ingredients for the cornbread, reserve some of the chili, and place them both in the freezer. These are great examples of two of my favorite tips:
1. The “dry” ingredients in baking are not activated till they get wet. So you can mix them well in advance (even freeze them), saving you time when you go to bake. When I measured out the flour, etc., for the cornbread in the chili, I measured them out again – into a ziploc bag – and put them in the freezer.
2. We’ll talk about this more in future posts, but try to think about doubling your meals – not your efforts – when cooking. I put some of the big batch of chili I made into a freezer bag for this meal. Another example would be roasting two chickens – one to eat that night and another to use in a different recipe later in the week. Once you start thinking along those lines on a regular basis it will become a natural part of the way you meal plan and cook!
So let’s get to the recipe!
- 1 1/2 c. uncooked whole wheat macaroni
- 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 1/2 – 3 c. leftover chili
- 1 batch corn bread batter, unbaked
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9 x 9 baking pan with a non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam).
- Prepare pasta according to directions, cooking for 1-2 minutes less than the suggested time. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the corn bread batter.
- Drain pasta and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Top with the cheese, followed by the chili. Finish by spreading the corn bread batter evenly over the top with a spoon or spatula.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown and cooked throughout (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean). Serve immediately.