This is a recipe post; and, because the Internet requires it, I’ve prefaced the actual recipe with a half-glass of commentary. If you’re excited to read the commentary, perfect! Continue reading as you normally would. If you just want to know how the damn thing is made, scroll down until you see a picture of cheese-covered sexiness. The recipe starts after that photo.
Who is the ghetto gourmet?
That’s the first thing you see under the contents list of Coolio’s cookbook, Cookin’ with Coolio: 5-Star Dishes at a 1-Star Price. Oh, did you not know the 1990s rapper Coolio published a cookbook? Well, he did!
Three pages into the preface, you find a section titled “How Coolio Became King of the Kitchen Pimps.” Coolio learned how to cook as a child in Compton, story goes, sneaking into the kitchen while his while his parents were at work. Lacking the funds for high-end cuisine, he learned to maximize simple ingredients and work quickly.
Fast-forward to now, and the man who exchanged his cell phone for a Push n’ Pedal trike in “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” and briefly beefed with Weird Al Yankovic over a “Gangsta’s Paradise” parody is now rapping recipes like Chili Mac Pimpi and Don Chicken Alfredo. The cookbook’s first chapter is even titled “How to Become a Kitchen Pimp.”
Some of his talk would have been better off left in the ’90s, or banished from time altogether, but anyway.
Coolio had a web-based cooking show on something called My Damn Channel, and a reality show on Oxygen documented the creation of his catering company. Here’s an article on The Guardian announcing Coolio’s plans to sell off the rights to his entire music catalog so he can fund his culinary endeavors. He even competed on Chopped – and cheated!
There’s a Tricked-Out West Side Tilapia recipe I’m itching to try, and I’ll be making that Don Chicken Alfredo very soon. As for the Chili Mac Pimpi, it’s a nice balance between cold-weather comfort and quarantine-prepper thrift. Whether it’s deployed as a main dish or a little something on the side simply depends on how heavy you make it. Me? I make it heavy.
The original recipe can be found in Cookin’ with Coolio: 5-Star Meals at a 1-Star Price. My adjustments and tips will be marked as such. The cookbook’s total time from 0-Pimpi is 55 minutes, but I’m saying give yourself 90. This chili mac feeds 8-10 reasonable humans; it feeds 5-6 Quarantine Franks.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (I used cavatappi noodles – they’re just more fun)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 12oz can kidney beans (I used two cans this size)
- 15oz can tomato paste
- 10.75-oz can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (I could only find a 10.5-oz can, but yeah: just come close.)
- 1 “dime bag” (tablespoon) salt
- 1 “dime bag” (tablespoon) pepper
- The recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, but don’t you know who you’re dealing with here? I used FOUR!
CARE TO CUSTOMIZE?
The simplicity of this recipe leaves tons of room to get crazy. A pound of bacon could easily be added to this. So could a few fresh jalapenos. Onions? Bell peppers? Bananas? Maybe not bananas. With a base recipe this simple, you’re limited only by your imagination – but seriously, don’t add bananas to your chili mac.
WHAT YOU DO
- Cook the noodles. Drain the noodles. Set the noodles aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour the olive oil into a large skillet, and sauté your garlic and onion flakes for three minutes in that.
- Add the beef. Brown the beef. Drain the grease.
- Mix the beans, tomato paste, and condensed soup together in a big bowl.
TIP: Use a BIG bowl for this, the biggest you’ve got. I used a party-sized purple snack bowl, and even that was barely big enough.
- Once that’s mixed well, fold in the beef.
- Add salt and pepper to your little heart’s desire.
TIP: For weirdos like me who are always adding cayenne pepper, right here is where I added mine.
- Fold in the noodles and mix until it’s mixed to your satisfaction.
- Situate your little monstrosity in a large baking dish. (I used a 9×13 and it fit)
- Cover it and put it into the oven for 20-25 minutes. (I went 25)
- Take it out and uncover it. Now cover it again, but this time with your cheddar cheese.
- Back into the oven, 5-10 more minutes or until the cheese melts. I went 10 minutes because, again, I used four times as much cheese as the recipe calls for.
- Pull it out of the oven. Let it cool for a few seconds. Start eating it.