Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WFMWTWDIFE - Chili Mac & Make Do Fajitas

This Wednesday is another themed edition of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

**The idea for this week's theme comes from reader Lysa TerKeurst.**

"It's 5:15 pm, the kids are hungry, you have a headache, hubby is almost home, and the pantry has three things in it. What is your BEST last-minute meal recipe? Share with everybody this week. We'll call it Works-For-Me Wednesday: The What-Do-I-Fix? Edition. Or we could just simplify and call it WFMWTWDIFE. Yeah. That's much simpler."

**Works for Me Wednesday:

The What-Do-I-Fix? Edition**

Here are some of our standbys:

Chili Mac

Box of Macaroni and Cheese
Can of Chili
Can of Green Cut Beans

Of course if you will need to adjust the amounts for your own family size. Remember you have a headache and can't think straight!

First off, grab a large sauce pan and put in some water and get it boiling for the pasta.

While the water is heating up, grab yourself a cool glass of water and a Motrin 600- they almost always work for my headaches. Then head back and check on the water.

Get the dishes out and put them on the table. Enlist the help of one or all the kids to get the table set and drinks (ice water in our case) at each place setting.

Now open the cans of chiles and green beans. Put the green beans in a microwave dish and heat them up. Check on the water and if ready, pour in the pasta and set your timer. Drink a little more water and sit down to wait for the timer to go off.

Now drain the pasta water, return the pan to the stove and add the milk, butter (optional) and cheese powder, mix well. Now add the Chili and heat until the chili is ready. Check the green beans to make sure they are still warm.

Take green beans to the table, place on a trivet. Bring the Chili Mac over and place on a trivet. Grab serving spoons and have everyone sit up to the table.

Say a blessing on the food and Thank God that you do have a family to take care of and ask him for strength and endurance, and especially to take that headache away!

Eat and maybe leave the dishes for morning. Unless that would give you a bigger headache!!
Or maybe Dear Hubby and kids would lend a hand and get the dishes done for you. : )

If Chili is not your thing- try:

Tuna Mac

  • Mac- made per mac-n-cheese box instructions
  • add a can of drained tuna
  • add a can of beans or use frozen peas
  • sprinkle cheese on it
  • we sometimes stir in some sour cream

Mac and Dogs

  • Mac- made per mac-n-cheese box instructions
  • cut up some hot dogs
  • add ketchup or catsup if desired
  • I usually add green beans, but my kids and husband don't -they like the green beans, it's just they forget to go the one more can, step : )

Tuna Casserole - stove top style

  • Cooked and drained macaroni, put mac back in pan
  • add cream of mushroom soup
  • sprinkle cheese on it
  • add frozen peas or favorite vegetables
  • add tuna and tuna water
  • add water or milk if needed

Heat thoroughly and serve with buttered toast.

The above recipes are favorites of my kids - 10 & 12 years old.
The next recipe is my favorite. My Hubby like almost everything. He is a joy to cook for.
I usually make this basic meat mix and store 5 or 6 in the freezer for CCDD's ('crazy cooking dinner days').

Make Do Fajitas or whatever you feel like

Make the basic meat mix:

  • 1 can green cut beans, drained
  • 1 can mild green chiles, diced, (I never drain, but the cans I use have hardly any liquid)
  • 1 can button mushrooms, bits & pieces - do not drain, use this liquid to saute in
  • 1 can or equivalent cooked Pork, Chicken or Turkey (shredded or chunks)*
    pepper to your taste (I do not usually add salt, but of course you can if you need it! )

In a large wok or frying pan, on medium heat, add the can of undrained mushrooms. Add the meat and get it separated and warming. When the meat is broken up, I then add the green beans and chiles. Pepper to taste. Then I kind-of stir fry it all around until it is hot. Now if I made a large batch, I remove what I need for the current meal. Then I separate the rest into freezer bags and smooth flat and toss them in the freezer for the future- headache days!

Serve meat mix in warmed flour tortillas. Add a salad.

Sometimes we have these burrito style or taco style. Add lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes.

We also have this with bread and butter. It is also good over rice.

* I will always look for meat on sale and then buy a lot. When I get home, I put the meat straight into the crockpot and cook it until is is pull apart tender. I usually use Pork boneless country ribs and boneless & skinless chicken breasts.

Sometimes I don't even salt and pepper. And other times I will add salt, pepper, and lemon pepper. Just depends on if I have a headache or not! When the meat is done and cooled, I divide into 'works for me' portions in freezer bags, label and stick in the freezer.

Crazy Cooking Dinner Days

Stove Top Casserole

  • cooked egg noodles or macaroni
  • frozen meat mix
  • cream mushroom or chicken soup
  • cheese
  • sour cream added at the end
  • seasonings if desired (i.e. lemon pepper, garlic, chili pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.)

Serve this with a piece of buttered bread on a plate.

(I have made this meat mix with tuna, it works too. If you add a can of cream of mushroom soup then it becomes a tuna helper meal. You could also add water and egg noodles and then it is more like a stove top casserole. Cheese too.)

Faux Chop Suey

  • Frozen meat mix
  • can of Chinese veggies
  • can of bean sprouts
  • can of water chestnuts, sliced

Combine ingredients in large fry pan or wok. (I don't have a wok, but I have a large pan that is a combo fry pan and sauce pan.) Heat thoroughly.

To make the sauce, I use a cornstarch and water mix, that I add to my heated ingredients. I add water to the meat mix if needed. Also add some soy sauce.


I make a packet of chicken gravy, add soy sauce and mix this in my meat and veggies. All is per taste for you and yours.

Serve over rice. (Rice is good cooked and frozen for just these kind of days)

My Mom always did Macaroni & Cheese and Creamed Tuna over Toast.

Mom's Mac-n-Cheese (Soup-Type)

  • cooked and drained macaroni
  • cover mac with milk
  • add grated cheese
  • season with salt and pepper if needed

Heat until cheese is melty. Then ladle into bowls.

Mom's Creamed Tuna over Toast

  • make a white sauce
  • add tuna, drained
  • add frozen peas

Heat until peas are hot. Ladle over buttered toast. When we were kids, we would break up our buttered toast into bite sized pieces. It was always a like your plate clean meal. (Mom hated that!)

If you have hard boiled eggs, use the eggs in place of the tuna. The peas taste good with the eggs too, or you can leave them out. Crumbled bacon is good with the eggs and a little grated cheese. Serve this over toast. Yum!

The things from my childhood are definitely comfort food and calories don't count when you have a headache, now do they?

These fast recipes work for me! Hope this helps someone. Thanks for reading and now....

Have a great day and jump back over to Rocks in My Dryer for more ideas!!



If you'd like to visit my other WFMW here are the links:

Use a Notebook
Kitchen Tools

For More WFMW go to Rocks in My Dryer

For More WFMWTWDIFE go to Rocks in My Dryer


  1. Do you know how to make mac n cheese from scratch? Just wondered.

  2. Thanks for asking Susan.

    Before I found a real recipe for stovetop mac-n-cheese, I would just make a white cheese sauce and add my cooked macaroni. The family liked it that way.

    Here is a recipe I have tried that is more like the mac-n-cheese from a box.

    In a bowl, beat 2 eggs, 6 oz milk, 1/2 tsp hot sauce, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. (if you don't have dry mustard, use a squirt of mustard)

    Bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add some salt to the water. Add 1/2# of macaroni and cook until it is done to your taste. Drain water.

    Add 4 Tbs butter to cooked macaroni and return to stove. Add egg and milk mixture and 10 oz of grated cheese. Mix well. Cook until hot and thick.

    My kids did not like this so much. They thought it was too rich or cheesey. (I don't know how to spell cheese-y!) I did use evaporated milk instead of regular milk, because that is what I had. Maybe that was the difference.
    Good Luck!!

    I still like my Mom's mac-n-cheese soup style best.

  3. oh my gosh...i thought we were the only ones that did chili mac...i love it..not my hubby so much...but it is a great leftovers meal.