Little Hippie was so excited about the prospect of combining two of her faves – chicken chili and “macky cheese.” I saw this recipe on The Fearless Homemaker, pitched the idea to the family, and they all thought it was a great idea for our anticipated chicken leftovers. Everyone liked it, though I thought the chicken wasn’t really necessary. I certainly wouldn’t cook chicken just for this recipe. This is a versatile one-pot dish that can use up all manner of leftovers. It’s basically a quick chili with pasta. I let Little Hippie choose the pasta for our version, and she selected Wacky Mac. It’s not something I would’ve even considered, so I’m glad she got to make the call. Wacky Mac added nice color and texture to the meal with its colors and shapes.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced (chopped would be fine, too, but I like to maintain the stealth of the onion in our foods)
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small can mild diced green chiles
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 cups cooked navy beans
- 1 cup cooked black beans (if you would rather use canned beans, just use 1 can of each)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups uncooked pasta
- Leftover chicken, pork, or tofu (optional)
- Optional garnishes: sour cream or yogurt, shredded cheese, diced avocado, pickled jalapeno slices, green onions.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or small stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add dry spices and garlic. Cook for an extra minute or two.
- Add meat or tofu (if using). Stir to coat protein with the spices.
- Add stock, beans, chiles, and tomato paste. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta, cover, and cook for almost as long as the pasta package recommends (you want it a little undercooked because the pasta will not be drained – it will sit in the hot liquid for a long time, so the pasta will keep cooking).
- Serve with garnishes.