5-Spice Chili Mac.

In case you haven't caught on by now, I love pasta. As a kid, I would only eat plain pasta and canned green beans. (Anyone, gag?) It took me well into my teen years before I even wanted sauce on my pasta. I was a strictly butter girl. Maybe Paula Dean is a distant relative of mine...

As much as I love a bowl of buttered pasta, my taste buds have grown up over the years. A few months ago I was craving chili mac. I had no idea where the craving came from since I've maybe eaten chili mac once in my life, but alas the craving needed to be fixed. That's how this fantastic recipe came to be.

It might look like every chili mac you've ever seen, but the kick from the lime juice and 5 spice powder will tell you instantly this isn't the same old, same old. And I didn't stop there; melted cheddar cheese and bright, fresh cilantro will make this a dish you'll crave again and again. Welcome to chili mac, with a twist.

Chili Mac

{ serves 2-3 }

1 tsp. coconut oil

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 TBS garlic powder

2 pinches chili flakes

2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder

1/2 cup diced red onion, plus additional for garnishing

1 tsp. coarse sea salt; divided

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock; divided

1 TBS tomato paste

1 1/2 cup diced, canned tomatoes

zest and juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

3 TBS chives, chopped (optional)

 

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti cooked and tossed with 1 TBS olive oil

 

Add coconut oil to a large saute pan and heat to medium-high. Once heated, add the ground beef to the pan and break up any large chunks with a wooden spoon. Brown meat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until meat no longer appears pink. Remove meat and set aside. Remove excess grease from pan, leaving only 1TBS of oil/grease.

Add the garlic powder, chili flakes, chili powder, cumin, and Chinese 5 spice powder to the pan. Stir frequently for 30 seconds or until the spices begin to smell fragrant.

Add the diced red onion and 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt along with 1/4 cup of stock to the pan and lower head to medium. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions begin to soften and the stock has begun to reduce.

Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, remaining 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt and remaining 1/4 cup of stock to the pan. Make sure the heat is at a simmer and cook mixture for 8-10 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from heat and add lime juice and zest. Toss to combine. Add any additional salt to fit your personal preference. Ladle meat mixture over individual bowls of spaghetti and top with cheese, cilantro, and optional diced red onion and chives. Enjoy!

 

{ Helpful Notes }

- Monterey Jack or Pepperjack would be a fantastic sub for the cheddar.

- If you don't have red onion, you can use white, Spanish, Vidalia...you get the drift.

- If you like it really spicy, try topping your bowl with chopped pickled jalapenos.