Actually, the real name of this family favorite is Mystery Meat Mexi-Mac, but I didn't think anyone would ever give a second glance at any food with the words mystery meat in it.
"Mystery meat" tends to conjure up images of summer camp and the tummy troubles that went with it. Of course, it may have just been the teenage girls who had the tummy troubles. See, for one week every summer, the girls at my camp didn't use the bathroom. Specifically to go #2. There was always the rumor that the boys had drilled holes through the walls and were watching the girls use the toilets. (Stupid girls that we were, we never actually questioned how the boys got those so-called drills.) And if you were really cool (aka, classy) there was no passing of gas either. Hence, tummy troubles. By day 3, most girls were complaining of cramps (because that was an acceptable ailment to have while maintaining one's coolness), and by day 5, the girls were all forgoing afternoon fun for naps. Which really meant that they had each visited the camp nurse for some Tums and were lying in their bunks discreetly releasing noxious fumes that left a green haze hovering over the entire cabin area.
Or, so I've heard.☺
How did I get so far off course from Mexi-Mac? Oh yeah, mystery meat. I'm back...
This is not the mystery meat of summer camp. Just so you know.
The reason that we added mystery to this dish is simple~we never know what meat will end up in the pot. Our family favorite is bulk sausage, but we also like shredded chicken and beef. And if meat is a luxury item, leave it out. I'm guessing that no one will even notice that it's gone...
I guess that could be the mystery!☺
~Mystery Meat Mexi-Mac~
1 lb. bulk sausage (pork, turkey, venison)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 oz.) mild chili beans, undrained
2 cans (15 oz.)great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (14-1/2 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (7 oz.) can diced green chiles
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cans of water (I use the tomato cans)
1 (16 oz.) bag uncooked brown rice macaroni pasta
2 cups frozen corn
1 can olives, sliced
2 Tb. plus 2 t. chili powder
2 t. sea salt
2 t. ground cumin
Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese
In a large Dutch oven, cook the sausage until barely pink. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic and cook until meat is done. (If using pre-cooked meat, saute veggies in 2 Tb. olive oil and add cooked meat with the beans.)
Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and macaroni. Add chili powder, salt, and cumin and stir to blend. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add corn and olives. Remove from heat and replace lid while you shred the cheese.
Serve in bowls and if desired, garnish with cheese and sour cream.