December 6, 2009

Jen's Baked Chili Mac Penne Surprise

I am almost ashamed to post this dinner. Almost. I really can't believe that my cooking has reached this level. I am playing mad scientist with some leftovers, and the results are going to go one of two ways. I suspect that this dinner is either going to be really good, or so horrible it will be inedible. The funny thing is that I am oddly excited to try it! Weird, I know. Let me just post the "recipe" (and I use that term loosely), so you can see what I mean. Wish us luck!!!

Jen's Baked Chili Mac Penne Surprise

cooking spray
1/2 bag of cooked whole wheat penne pasta (elbow macaroni would work, too)
leftover chili (from my chili cheese dogs the other night)
leftover black bean soup (the last soup portion in our fridge that definitely needs to be used)
1/4 cup of chicken stock
2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (melted cheese would make an old boot seem appetizing, so I think it is an appropriate addition to this meal)

Cook pasta according to package directions in boiling, salted water. Drain in a colander and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, combine leftover chili and leftover soup with chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce and set aside.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray and layer cooked drained pasta in the bottom. Cover with chili-bean mixture and spread evenly over pasta with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through and all the cheese is melted.

The Result:
Whew!!! I dodged a bullet with this one, for sure! It turned out pretty good. I don't know if I will ever have the same leftovers on hand at the same time again to re-create it, but I am pleased with the outcome. The husband, who was pretty skeptical, had seconds! I even left the cheese on mine, because I wanted to get a full appreciation for my creation (also, I just couldn't face this dish without the cheese...thankfully I am tolerating it okay). I guess the lesson learned here was don't be afraid of making a super-thrifty dinner by combining leftovers once in awhile. I am just relieved that everyone at my house liked this casserole!

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