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Go to Town on a Go-to Meal, Try Chili Mac


Have you ever noticed how often we use the words “go-to”?

Go is an action verb and we are a culture that loves action.

We say “go-to town” to express positive energy and excitement like I’m going to go-to town on those chocolate crinkle cookies.

When things aren’t going well, we say it’s “going to the dogs.” This expression originated to describe food that wasn’t fit for human consumption.

My mom used to say “going to pot” when invoking an image of a situation headed for ruin and destruction. No, this term did not originate with the hippie movement in the 1960s. It was used centuries before and referred to food being chopped up and thrown into a pot for cooking.

There are other go-to phrases, like going to the mat, which means giving something your all.


How “Go to” Helps You Answer The Most Important Question of the Day – “What’s for dinner?”

But what could the words go-to possibly mean for you in cooking or in answering the most important question of every day, “What’s for dinner?”.

It means always having on-hand the ingredients for a go-to meal.

This is for those nights when you work late, have a chaotic afternoon shuttling between multiple kids’ activities, or you really just don’t want to think too much about dinner.

Just know that you’ve got it covered. It’s like always having your favorite song cued, ready to play when you need a smile in your heart.


Chili Mac is a Go-to Meal

For me, my go-to meal is called Chili Mac.

My mother made a version of this when I was growing up. I loved it then, love it today, and always will.

It’s simple, requires just a handful of ingredients, and comes together quickly. Hamburger, macaroni, canned stewed tomatoes, onion, chili powder, paprika, and some red chili pepper flakes for spice.

It’s not only my go-to because it’s a simple, tastebud tingling meal that I always have the ingredients for, it’s a meal that evokes warm feelings and happy childhood memories, and memories of serving this as a mom to my now-adult children.

What’s your go-to?

Maybe it’s Chili Mac.


Go to Town On Your “Go To” Dish Before Going to Pot

Maybe it’s a different dish equally as simple so that when you need to go to town on making dinner but feel like you’re going to pot instead, you can easily make your tastebuds dance and your heart sing.

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Go to Town on a Go-to Meal, Try Chili Mac

Go to Town on a Go-to Meal, Try Chili Mac

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This recipe is for all those nights you need a go-to meal when you feel like you’re “going to pot”! This dish is delicious and fast, just what you need when you’re moving through life at the speed of light.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 14.5 oz stewed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cavatalli pasta, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine (your favorite wine is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • avocado oil


  1. Heat a large skillet over high heat.
  2. Once hot, add just a swirl of avocado oil to coat the bottom.
  3. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. As the ground beef begins to brown, add the diced onions.
  5. Once the ground beef is cooked through, stir in the spices.
  6. Allow the spices to heat through then add the stewed tomatoes, followed by the white wine, and water.
  7. Bring to a slow simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  8. Stir in the pasta.
  9. You’re done!


Use your favorite white wine, or use water instead. If using water in place of the white wine, the total liquid measurement is 1 1/2 cups.


  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 345
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Sodium: 678.5 mg
  • Fat: 8.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.6 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Cholesterol: 67.8 mg

Like this chili Mac? Try this easy chili recipe as well!