Easy Chili Mac Recipe

It’s chili season here and my family loves chili. I can whip up a batch and place the pot in the fridge for free-ranging and everyone is content but sometimes I need to bulk it up a bit more to feed more people or make the meal go further to help our budget do better during a short week.

This recipe works with any simple chili recipe and even can be done by adding pasta to leftover chili. You can make chili mack with this recipe or by adding pasta to one of my favorite chili recipes including this bison chili, three bean chili, or Southwest Chili Recipe. To save time you can make your own chili seasoning mix and use that in place of the species below. I like to mix up enough to fill a mason jar to keep in the cabinet for the winter.

What you need to make homemade chili mac

  • 1 lb ground beef (you can also use ground turkey or plant-based alternatives)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional, for topping)

How to make homemade chili mac

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet or pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and cooked through. If there’s excess fat, you can drain it.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the cooked ground beef. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent and fragrant. If you want to make this easy you can mix up some homemade chili seasoning mix to stash for meals like this.

Pour in the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well to combine.

Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasonings to your taste preferences. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Add the cooked macaroni to the chili mixture. Stir well until the macaroni is coated with the chili sauce.

How to serve chili mac

You can serve it as is, or top it with shredded cheddar cheese for an extra cheesy touch.

You can also add your favorite chili toppings like chopped green onions, sour cream, or sliced jalapeños.

Honey cornbread and applesauce make great sides to serve with your chili mac.

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