Question: If you don’t open a can while making a hotdish, is it still a hotdish?
Regardless of the answer, if it’s that time of year and you’ve got a lot of fresh farm products, it’s a good way to play with all kinds of different flavors. I was working with tomatoes, peppers, and garlic from Harmony Valley Farm, Spanish onions from Living Song Gardens, and ground beef from Chase Brook Natural Meats.
I adapted my version from a recipe on Simply Recipes. It can be the jumping off point for endless variations and I don’t think I ever make it the same way twice. Sometimes I like to grate cheese over it and run it under the broiler for a few minutes; dice some zucchini to saute with the onions and peppers; add a tablespoon of chili powder and you’ve got Chili-Mac; use up the last inch of salsa; throw in some olives . . . well you get the idea. And if it’s the dead of winter and all you have are canned veggies, the hotdish police aren’t going to know one way or the other. And as long as you’re opening cans, open up some black beans. It’ll be delicious.
Hamburger and Macaroni Hot Dish Without a Can
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 jalapeno, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
28 oz. tomatoes, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni, uncooked
Cook the macaroni according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cover, turn heat down to medium, and let veggies sweat until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir them occasionally. Set aside.
Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Then add the vegetables, tomatoes and seasonings. Turn heat down to medium and let the tomatoes cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the macaroni. Adjust the seasonings. That’s it!