Chili Mac is a nostalgic and delicious meal that is both adult and kid friendly. This simple, chili mac and cheese recipe is the perfect comfort food for any day of the week!
Chili Mac is one of those nostalgic and super delicious meals that just makes you feel good inside! It’s the perfect cold weather food but really is a great choice for any season. This bowl of ooey, gooey perfection is one dish the whole family will love, and it won’t break the bank or leave you with a load of dishes. The entire recipe cooks in one pot! Who doesn’t love that?!
When Heather and I got married, the deal was that I’d do the cooking and she’d do the cleaning. Unfortunately for her, neither of us knew I’d have a career in food. And while she never complains, I know she enjoys meals with less to wash. And don’t worry, I DO help her with the dishes now. But, for the sake of delicious food and less dishes… this is a recipe we can always agree on!
What is chili mac?
Chili mac is a delicious and filling one-pot meal. Think of your favorite chili and add in the fun of mac and cheese… there you have it! Chili mac and cheese! This dish features browned ground beef, macaroni noodles, and a collection of spices. Mix that in with a tomato sauce and heaping of cheese. The hardiness of chili mac and its short prep time, will have this recipe listed as a regular on your meal rotation!
What should I serve with chili mac?
While I whole-heartedly believe that chili mac can be served as a standalone dish. I understand wanting to round out the meal with a few delicious pairings. Here are a few ideas:
- Side Salad – You could grab your favorite pre-made salad kit from the grocery store for ease and convenience. I also like to recommend this Easy Broccoli Salad or this sweet and delicious Secret Ingredient Fruit Salad.
- Bread – Bread is always a natural addition to this yummy comfort food. Garlic Parmesan Knots, Elmer’s Cornbread, and The BEST Garlic Bread are all great options to consider.
- Vegetables – Since chili mac is a bit of a mixture of items, you can’t go wrong with just a simple vegetable as a side dish. Check out My Favorite Roasted Green Beans or Roasted Broccoli.
- Coleslaw – Sometimes a light and crispy cool side dish is the perfect match for chili mac. I personally recommend Aunt Mary’s Pepper Sauce Coleslaw or Vinegar Slaw.
Lean Ground Beef – This recipe calls for two pounds of lean ground beef.
Onion – Chop up one white, sweet, or yellow onion to add flavor to your ground beef. Any kind will work here.
Minced Garlic – You will need to mince three cloves of garlic.
Beef Broth – Any kind of beef broth will do the trick. Just keep in mind, if you use the reduced sodium variety, it can affect the flavor a bit.
Chili Seasoning – Do not skip out on the 2 (1.25 to 1.75-ounce) packets of chili seasoning. If you are worried about how spicy this will make your chili mac, simply use the mild chili seasoning available at your local grocery store. This way, you can turn down the heat without turning down the flavor.
Petite Diced Tomatoes – I am not brand conscious when it comes to canned tomatoes, but just make sure you get 1 (28-ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes. The juice from the tomatoes goes right in the recipe, too!
Tomato Sauce – You need 1 (15-ounce) can of tomato sauce – any brand will do.
Elbow Macaroni – Package sizing varies, so just make sure you get a total of 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni to start.
Easy Chili Mac
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 (1.25 to 1.75-ounce) packets chili seasoning
- 1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- In a large Dutch oven, brown the ground beef with the onions over medium high heat. Drain away any grease.
- Return the meat and onions to the heat and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the beef broth, chili seasoning, diced tomatoes with the juice, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the uncooked pasta. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and pasta are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve add the cheese. Stir until melted.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.