This delicious chili mac and cheese with ground beef, diced tomatoes, chili beans, pasta and cheese is the perfect comfort food for winter.
We’re starting the new year with a bang! Everyone loves a good chili and everyone loves mac and cheese. In the past, I’ve spiced up the classic mac and cheese with jalapenos and bacon. But today we’ll be combining these two family favorites in a recipe to make chili mac and cheese, a comfort dish that will warm you up and give you all the cozy feelings this winter.
I was lucky to taste this at a company potluck this Christmas and a good friend of mine passed on the recipe. It’s not so cheesy and rich that you can’t have it as a main dish but it’s versatile enough, that if you do want it that cheesy, you can (just toss in more cheese!). But for now, we’re treating this as a main dish to pass around the family table. So let’s begin.
CHILI MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE TIPS
Start by cooking your pasta. While that’s busy simmering, we’ll make the chili. Brown your ground beef in a dutch oven until cooked then remove it and drain the fat. I used super lean ground beef but it still rendered some fat. Drain the fat then remove the beef and set it aside.
Then we sauté the onions and garlic until that wonderful aroma fills the kitchen. Add the beef back into the pot along with your tomatoes, chili beans, and seasoning. Make sure you drain the tomatoes so we spend less time thickening the chili. If you’re not a fan of beans, you can skip them. If you have your own chili mix and like making it yourself, feel free to substitute the packet mixes. Two packets came up to half a cup of seasoning.
Mix it all up! Be gentle though, so you don’t mangle the beans. Then we simmer for a while. I did it for about 5 minutes to get a quick dinner on the table but you can do it for as long as you like to marry the flavors. Season it with salt and pepper or more chili powder and cumin if you need more flavor. Once it’s done, add the cooked and drained pasta to the pot along with a cup of cheddar cheese. Mix, mix, mix!
You can stop here and dish your chili mac and cheese proudly, or you can make it into a casserole by transferring it to a 9×13 casserole dish and topping it with some extra cheese. Bake at uncovered at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and cheese has melted.
And that’s all there is to it. Serve with some sour cream if you like or skip it if you’re not a fan. I added some hot sauce 😉 Enjoy!
MORE MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES TO TRY
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Chipotle Chili Mac and Cheese
- Bacon Jalapeno Mac and Cheese
- Velveeta Mac and Cheese