Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sgrishka's Favorite Chili Mac

I think this picture says it all...

Five years ago, way before I started food blogging, one of my primary sources of inspiration Sgrishka at BigOven. His interesting culinary background and recipes often prodded me to try something outside of my comfort zone. These days, I just consider him the best food blogger that never blogged because his approach to cooking embodies the spirit of food blogging. Here is an excerpt from his profile:

My mother, both my grandmothers and several aunts were always trying new things in the kitchen; they encouraged me to do the same. I can remember my mother trying a new recipe at least 4 or 5 days out of the week, every week, for years -- yes, years! She would find cookbooks that interested her and in some instances, try virtually every recipe in them. Some good, some not so good. One good thing though, no-matter what the recipe result, as she learned "what worked" or "what didn't," so did I. My mother taught me to be adventurous, to not be afraid to experiment. After-all, you have nothing to lose but boredom. She taught me to try new recipes and techniques. You may not like them all, but you are sure to make some new discoveries that could very well become life-long favorites.

Tonight I wanted something I hadn't had in probably over a decade, chili-mac. Not a fancy, upscale version of the comfort food classic. I wanted the basic chili-mac that Mom used to make 30 years ago. A quick google search and whose recipe just happens to pop up? You guessed it.

Sgrishka's Favorite Chili Mac

My Mother used to make this easy recipe and I still love it. It's great for busy week nights.

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large onion chopped

3 tablespoons chili powder (I like Gebhardt Chili Powder)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste (optional)

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes in juice (I use Hunts)

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (I use Hunts)

1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans rinsed and drained

-- optional toppings --

* grated cheddar cheese

* minced sweet onions

* sour cream

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Cook ground beef with onion in a 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until crumbly and no longer pink. Drain, if needed.

Stir in chili powder and crushed red pepper (if using). Add tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 20 minutes.

Add cooked macaroni; cook for 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

It was easy, hearty & warm. Just like Mom used to make.

I appreciate that Sgrishka knows when to push the culinary envelope and when to let a simple classic stand on it's own.

So, who is someone that is NOT a food blogger and inspires or inspired your cooking?


  1. That chili mac looks really good and easy. I am going to make that next week! I would have to say my Mom inspired my cooking. I never knew that there was cookie mix in a bag or box until I went to college and shopped by myself for the first time. LOL! We always cooked together - I took that experience and just expanded on it.

  2. My grandmother and my great grandmother were the ones that gave me my passion for cooking...and many of my recipes :) My momma (bless her heart) can't even boil an egg LOL

  3. Definitely a perfect comfort food around this house! My inspirations come from family and southern life since food is so central to all and everything that we do.

  4. I love chili mac (pasta is a favorite of mine). This is one of those classic comfort foods that can stand alone with simple ingredients, which I like. No fancy San Marzano tomatoes or high dollar cheese needed here :D

    My mom inspired my love of cooking. She was a great cook and she loved for me to help her in the kitchen. Her interest in cooking rubbed off on me over the years.

  5. I love chili mac also. This version sounds lovely. Someone who inspires me that is not a cookbook author would be a favorite patient of mine.. who passed almost a year ago, her name is Nonni. I wrote about her in my blog.. the sunday gravy post:) Fond memeories.

  6. Too funny Chris. I just made ChiliMac last night. Seems like we are always cooking the same thing.

  7. You know Chris, you just cannot find good chili mac any more, so remind me to meet you and Alexis there when I come down in the summer! Can we hit a few BBQ places, and I will take a rack of cherry smoked ribs to go too...Oh, is that too much to ask of you? :)

  8. Mom is why I cook, 'nuff said

  9. I love that you went basic here.
    No food bloggers do basic!


  10. I came up with a cheeseburger soup, that is quite similar in flavor, but, well, more soupy!

  11. I like going back to my childhood days and eating one of Mom's golden oldies. This looks very good and I've never had it. I loved the american goulash my mom made occasionally, which was similar to this but without the beans. I'll have to give it a try.

  12. My Mom used to make the same dish minus the chili powder and beans and called it "goulash." Not inspired cooking, but sometimes plain, simple, and filling is exactly what what you want.

  13. OH YUM! You know I love a good comforting meal. I've actually been thinking about this childhood fave lately! Except, I called it beef-a-roni.

  14. This is comfort food for the soul.

    Classic foods can be so charming like this chili mac :)



  15. This is what I like when the weather is cold! I want some spicy food!

  16. That is real comfort food! My mother use to make something similar in Colombia, but she used angel hair pasta.

  17. I keep hearing that "Old School" is in. your certainly did a terrific job on this Chris and this is something i haven't had in ages. Thanks for bringing it back and a tasty way!

    My maternal grandmother really inspired me. She grew up on a plantation in Larose, Louisiana and her knowledge of Cajun and Creole cooking taught me a lot.

  18. I hate to give the obvious "Mom" answer, but well it's true. She inspired me a lot, as does my brother who is not really a blogger but he does contribute to SS sometimes. GREG

  19. This is so comfort. I love trying new recipes all the time. Love your pictures.

  20. I've been thinking about making chili mac for awhile now - I've never had it before but I am sure I would love it. The recipe looks simple, hearty and delicious.

  21. I thing a lot of my non-blogger inspiration comes from my sister. And you're chili mac looks pretty darned good


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