Friday, November 4, 2011

Cheezy Chili Mac

Happy Friday!

I'm celebrating Friday by busting out the Christmas CDs.  Before anyone starts casting stones, let it be known that I realize this is ridiculous and quite possibly may even be off putting.  I don't care.  Although the Josh Groban choice this morning may have been a little much.  I think I'll ease into it a little more smoothly tomorrow with something like the Sufjan Stevens Christmas CD.  Now there is a gem.

So for lunch yesterday, I made this amazeballs chili burrito with avocado and lime crema from leftovers from the night before.  After polishing that off with a good amount of baby carrots and homemade hummus, I was feeling pretty full.  Okay, so I was feeling really full and like I needed a big salad for dinner.  So just know that I had the best of intentions.  Then I got a headache and started feeling all moody and came home and whipped up some extreme comfort food.  Queue the latest episode of Modern Family (hilarious), pass the hot sauce, and let's call it a night.

Cheezy Chili Mac
1 lb package whole wheat or vegetable shell pasta
2 cans vegan chili beans or 3 cups leftover homemade chili
1 medium zucchini
1/2 package Daiya pepper jack shreds
1 package silken tofu
2 Tbsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Sea salt to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook entire package of noodles in plenty of water, according to package directions.  Chop a zucchini into small bite size pieces (it doesn't have to be pretty) and chunk all the chunks into the cooking noodles and water about 3 minutes before the noodles are done.  This is not a precise science.

While noodles (and zook) cook, combine chili (homemade, frozen, canned, whatever) with all the remaining ingredients except the "cheese" shreds and bread crumbs.  Stir/mash it all together.  Drain cooked noodles and put them back in the pot.  Add the chili mixture to the noodles and stir to combine well.  *Don't be scared of the tofu.  You're going to be amazed at how it brings all the flavors together and ends up looking and tasting just like the delicious cottage cheese or ricotta your grandma puts in her baked macaroni and cheese she brings to all the potlucks.

Dump all of the mixture into a large casserole dish and pat it down into an even layer.  Top with the bread crumbs, spreading them evenly over the mixture.  I shook on a little extra sea salt, garlic powder and paprika here.  Spread "cheese" shreds evenly over the whole thing.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Dig in.

Are you still with me here?  Are you mad that I put tofu instead of cheese into Macaroni and CHEESE?  I don't blame you.  But listen, if you eat dairy, please feel free to use regular cheese on top if you want.  But please do try to keep the rest of the ingredients the same, because I think you'll amaze yourself and maybe you'll love it.  And you don't necessarily need to tell anyone you eat this with that it doesn't have cheese.  They won't be able to tell.  In fact, I issue this as a challenge!  Cousin Ashley, I'm talking to you.  Make this for your cheese and carb addicted husband.  Maw-Maw always said, "sometimes it's okay to tell little white lies."  Let me know how it turns out!  Salad for lunch today, I promise.

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