Speedy Chili-Mac aka Mexican Goulash ((just like Grandma’s))

Speedy Chili-Mac aka Mexican Goulash ((just like Grandma’s))

One of my favorite ways to stretch our grocery budget is to make my own beans. Not canned, not frozen – but dried beans. If you have been following me over the last year, you know all about my love for dried beans! I also love bulk cooking meat & making my own seasoning blends. This recipe combines so much of my cooking point of view — which makes me super excited to share this recipe with you! 

Specifically, I try to cut out as many additives in our food as possible by going back to the basics. I make many of my own seasoning blends and only purchase blends with ingredients I recognize in nature — not in a science textbook.

In addition to ingredients, cost is another huge factor that dictates a lot of what I do in the kitchen. I bet you can relate to the words “grocery & budget”. I know I sure can, hah.

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Last, I want our dinnertime to be a chance for the whole family to pause the crazy and gather together around the table. I want dinner to be enjoyable.  It is hard to please everyone all of the time, but my goal is to make yummy food healthy for my herd. Building memories & preparing their hearts and bodies for all of the tomorrows that lie ahead.

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It is a big ((and hard)) job. But if I don’t do it, it will not get done. I believe it needs to get done – even if it is one meal at a time. 

So, let’s all join hands and press on to the goal. 

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 For this recipe, I made my own seasoning blend using:

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  • Mild Hatch green & red chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Sweet paprika

In addition to these spices, I prepared the beans by adding:

  • garlic
  • bay leaf

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These flavors along with fresh bell pepper, onion, canned crushed & diced tomatoes & Italian flat leaf parsley, make the perfect base for my Chili-Mac! 

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I prepared the beans as I normally do by adding water, 1½ c dried beans, a few garlic cloves, a bay leaf and a drizzle of canola ((non GMO)) to my electric pressure cooker. I follow the manufacturers specific cooking recommendations — and you should too. But, just to give you an idea, I usually cook my beans for 50 minutes, high pressure, natural pressure release.

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{{*I love dried beans!! They are so much cheaper than canned & I control the sodium and seasoning. Another bonus to dried beans: they are so much prettier to store than canned beans. Cause pretty matters — I am vain like that!!}}

For the Chili-Mac, I did something slightly different when cooking my beans & I will tell you all about it soon.

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While the beans are pressure-cooking, in a large skillet, toast the dried spices for about 1-2 minutes over medium flame. This easy step really brings out the depth of flavor locked away in these dried seasonings. You can totally skip this step and just add the remaining ingredients and the dried pasta to the beans if you are in a time crunch.

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After the spices have toasted, add the diced pepper, onion, herbs & tomatoes to the skillet.

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Once these ingredients came to a low simmer, I added one pound of previously browned and frozen ground beef ((cooking and freezing ground beef in bulk is a proven LIFESAVER)).  I stirred and covered, turning the flame off to allow the meat to thaw without cooking further.

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About the time the beef was brought to temperature, the pressure cooker began chirping: “Time’s up!”. At this point, I usually allow the pressure within to naturally release. This gives the beans about 15 more minutes of cooking time to really soften up and become extra creamy. But tonight, I had something else in mind.

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I wanted to cook the macaroni ((or in this case campanelle)) in the juices of the beans and tomatoes — just like grandma did. So I forced a quick pressure release, unlocked the lid, took a deep breath & dumped the package of pasta into the pressure cooker and hoped I didn’t just botch dinner.

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This type of pasta is more tightly rolled and requires about 5 more minutes  (total 12-14 minutes) of cooking time than macaroni – so keep in mind different types of pasta require different lengths of cooking when making your own Chili-Mac and make any necessary timing adjustments.

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I have never cooked pasta in my pressure cooker and was nervous for sure. Really, as far as food goes, few things are worse than WAY over cooked pasta. Yes, there are definitely things worse – but let’s not go there!!

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I added the beef, chili powder & tomato mixture.

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Gave it all a good stir & sealed her up. 5 minutes on high pressure, another forced pressure release ((– and a little “please let this work” prayer)) & dinner was served!

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My friends, the pasta was perfectly cooked!! Slight to moderate al dente — giving the pasta a nice texture, no crunch & no mush. It worked!! My cooking life has changed. Mark this date on the calendar – pressure cookers and pasta work! This was not only one less pot to clean but also kept my newly cleaned stove top pristine. Yippee! And what a time saver – I knocked down not only the cooking time ((by a lot)) – but no more waiting for the pasta water to boil either. It is as if I just added thirty secret minutes to my day!

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Now, salt hasn’t been talked about up to this point — let alone added, so please don’t flip a lid when I tell you 3 teaspoons of salt may need to be added to this Chili-Mac.  Salt slows the cooking process for beans & causes them to cook unevenly, leaving some parts of the bean hard and other parts mush ((believe me, I know!)). Because of the unpredictability in using salt while cooking beans, I leave the salt totally out until the beans are completely  & perfectly finished.

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Add sea salt or kosher salt in teaspoon increments, stir & allow the Chili-Mac to rest a minute before tasting. Add another teaspoon and repeat the process until it is perfect. Add ½ teaspoon of finely ground black pepper too.

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Garnish with your favorite sharp cheddar and a few diced peppers & enjoy!

Mexican Goulash
Serves 8
Spicy and satisfying, but oh so simple to make. This hearty Mexican Goulash is comfort food at it's finest.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
530 calories
72 g
50 g
14 g
30 g
6 g
559 g
1263 g
6 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
559g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 530
Calories from Fat 121
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
21%
Saturated Fat 6g
29%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 50mg
17%
Sodium 1263mg
53%
Total Carbohydrates 72g
24%
Dietary Fiber 9g
35%
Sugars 6g
Protein 30g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
31%
Calcium
21%
Iron
25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Beans
  1. 1 1/2 c dried pinto style beans
  2. 10 c water
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 2 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 T non GMO canola oil
Chili
  1. 2 T Hatch mild green chili powder
  2. 2 T Hatch mild red chili powder
  3. 1 T cumin
  4. 1 heaping T sweet paprika
  5. 2 14.5 oz cans of tomatoes ((I used a combo of crushed and diced))
  6. 1/4 large green bell pepper, finely diced
  7. 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  8. 1 lb pre-cooked ground hamburger ((or cook and drain))
  9. 1 1 lb package of dried pasta ((I used campanelle))
  10. 3-4 t kosher salt
  11. 1/2 t ground black pepper
  12. 1 c hand shredded sharp cheddar.
Instructions
  1. Prepare beans according to pressure cooker instructions. I cooked mine for 55 minutes on high pressure, forced pressure release.
  2. Meanwhile, place spices in a large skillet, over medium flame. Stir for one minute, allowing the spices to bloom, releasing their locked in flavors. Add onion, bell pepper & tomatoes. Stir to combine and bring up to a low simmer. Add frozen ((or pre-cooked)) hamburger, stir to combine. Cover and turn off flame.
  3. Once beans are done cooking, force a pressure release ((without burning yourself)). Remove lid and add dried pasta & half of the chili/tomato mixture ((half is all that would fit in my pressure cooker, if it all fits in yours ((without filling beyond the manual recommended volume)) add more.
  4. Place the lid back on the pressure cooker and set it to cook on high pressure for 5 more minutes*. Once cooking time is complete, force another pressure release, add remaining chili mixture, stir and serve.
  5. Garnish with shredded sharp cheddar and a little diced bell pepper.
  6. Serves 8.
Notes
  1. Cooking time for pasta may need to be adjusted based on the type of pasta you use. The campanelle needed 12-14 minutes stovetop cooking time.
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calories
530
fat
14g
protein
30g
carbs
72g
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Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/

 

 



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