So, ya'll know how much I love pasta. We don't need to discuss this again. But here is the latest update. Did you know a pasta addiction is genetically transferable? Yep, it can go from parental DNA to offspring; and apparently it's located on the X chromosome because I have passed this obsession onto my son.
I've known for some time he loves his pasta...since about the age of 1 in fact, but I guess I never realized just how much until recently. Any time I ask him what he's hungry for me to make (when planning my menu), 9 times out of 10 he will answer with some sort of pasta. When we let him pick what restaurant to eat it, many times it's our favorite Italian place. When he comes home from school and asks "What's for supper" if I answer with pasta...he doesn't ask for a snack because he wants to save room. And if I tell him I've got a new casserole in the oven his first reaction is "What kind?" to try to see if it includes some sort of noodle.
Yeah...he's my kid. No doubt about it. (Not that there ever was.) But I'm not going to let him eat his favorite as much as he would like. After all, it's hard enough to keep him in clothes that fit, I don't need to have a carb overload make it even harder. So I need to find ways to give him what he loves, just in smaller quantities; and this casserole is the perfect solution!
Only a half pound of pasta to feed a family? Yep! How? By adding so many other things it takes that 8 ounces of pasta and bulks it up to a filling, delicious meal. Plus, some extra protein thrown in with meat and beans. He gets what he wants, and I can feel good about it.
My boys don't eat chili without some pasta on the bottom of the bowl, so this was like a hearty bowl of chili in casserole form. If you are worried about spice level with the cumin and chili powder, don't be. It tastes like it has a packet of taco seasoning in it, with the same heat level. Just a little extra from the green chilies to wake up your taste buds.
If you have little pasta lovers in your house too, give the people what they want. Just do it in a more sneaky way, remembering less is more!
Chili Pasta Bake
1/2 lb. small shell pasta, cooked and drained well
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 TBS vegetable oil
1 (14 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies, with juice
`1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 ( 15 oz.) can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 TBS chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 c. fiesta blend shredded cheese, divided
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Add ground beef and cook until no pink. Drain if necessary. Add garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and kidney beans. Mix to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. When pasta is drained, add it to meat mixture. Add 1 c. cheese and stir well. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions before serving.
Shared on The Country Cook April 24, 2015