Keeping those meals healthy also is paramount now. In previous years I might have stocked up on such convenience items as rotisserie chickens from the grocery deli, takeout fried chicken, or readymade pizza. But last Christmas was our first year to be on our improved eating plan and to try to reform some of our unhealthy ways. Even the most motivated find Christmas time to be an automatic trap for weight gain, so I've tried to put aside only food items made the healthy way—meals that won't cause us to backslide.
Chili-Macaroni, made from a Better Homes & Gardens website recipe, fell into this category. Hubby and I enjoyed Chili-Macaroni during a November meal and spotted it as a perfect one to make in bulk and freeze for the "December-10K" time fast approaching. I loved the fact that it had fresh green beans and a fresh tomato cooked right into it, so veggies already were a part of the deal, as was whole-grain pasta. At the time I prepared it, I made and froze an extra batch, so it's waiting for a sure-to-arrive December night when the day has been jammed with Christmas "to-do"s and I feel clueless about mealtime that has arrived too soon.
Try as we might, most of us can do little about the fact that pre-Christmas days overwhelm us, but we can feel smug about the fact that meals already are taken care of. Chili-Macaroni joins some containers of Spaghetti Sauce Excellente, Vegetable Soup, King Ranch Chicken, and a few other freezables lying in repose in my deep-freeze right now for some for-sure future mealtimes when I'll be ready to hug them and kiss them just for being there to save my life.
12 ounces ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies
1 can tomato sauce (no-salt added)
1 fresh tomato, choped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup whole-grain elbow macaroni or bow-tie pasta
1 cup fresh cut green beans
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
In a very large skillet cook ground turkey and onion over medium heat until turkey is brown and onion translucent. Drain off fat. Stir undrained tomatoes and green chilies, tomato juice, fresh tomato, chili powder, and garlic powder into meat mixture. Bring to boiling. Stir in pasta and green beans. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until pasta and green beans are tender. Top with shredded cheese and serve with tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings.