Last night the kids and I went down to a neighbor’s house who was hosting a “Healthy Kid Friendly Meal Sampling” – mom’s competition. I guess I kind of missed the memo compared to the other moms who all brought dishes primarily with only veggies and or turkey or chicken (gag). I say I missed the memo because I brought homemade Chili Cheese Mac – yeup, had beef, cheese and noodles as the main ingredients. But…I looked at the competition in a different way. Something healthy that MY kids would eat. You all know by now that I have super picky eaters and I sneak in veggies where I can, but if my kids had it their way they would eat noodles, rice and nutella sandwiches for every single meal (and you know what? some days that is what they eat…otherwise they just wouldn’t eat at all). So…rather than serving the nasty powdered box mix of Hamburger Helper I set out for a homemade version…much “healthier” in my opinion.
Guess what? Not only did my kids eat it, but all of the other kids too! AND…at the end the moms and kids all voted and guess who won? You guessed it! My Chili Cheese Mac! (well I actually tied for 1st place with a mom who brought these baked avocados…but if I had voted for my own recipe, I would have won, hahaha!) The kids and I won a cute little cutting board!
The recipe is actually really easy to make and I found it on MyRecipes.
Doesn’t that just look amazing?!?! I can assure you that it was.
Here’s a picture tutorial to help you make your own!
This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.
In a large dutch oven brown beef with spices
Add in 1 can of Rotel
Add in 2c beef broth (I found that I needed to add more at the end to help the noodles soften up)
and 1c water
Cover and bring to a boil
Add in noodles. The recipe called for elbow, but I only had corkscrews (they worked great!)
Cover again and let boil (this is when the noodles cook)
In the meantime, in a small saucepan heat 1/4c milk
Once the milk and cream cheese has melted add in 4.5oz of shredded cheddar cheese (and if you take pictures while making meals, your cheese block may happen to fall into the cream cheese mixture 🙂
Once the noodles are cooked, stir in the cheese mixture (sorry the picture is so dark, my kitchen is in extreme need of a lighting makeover!)
And there you have it! Dig in!
One more selling point: Lover Boy was at one of his MBA classes while we were at the sampling so he didn’t get dinner…but when he got home that night he asked what we ate because the house smelled really good!
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- ¾ pound ground round
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- ½ cup fat-free milk
- 4 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese
- 4½ ounces finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat
- Add oil.
- Add beef and next 4 ingredients; cook 3 minutes.
- Add broth, water, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
- Stir in macaroni; cover and cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is done.
- Heat milk and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in cheddar cheese.
- Cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar.
- Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture; toss well to coat.
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