Happy New Year to you! Around this time, five years ago, I hit publish on the first few blog posts here on Dash of Jazz. I've learned a lot since then and have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with each of you over a variety of topics but mostly food. So let's ease into 2020 with something delicious, easy, and unbelievably cozy: chili mac. This 30-minute meal is quick, easy comfort food made in one pot with Texas-shaped pasta and hidden vegetables. And you just can't beat that, can you? Since many of us are restarting routines this week with work, school, family, etc., I want to put this easy dinner recipe on your radar. This one-pot chili mac will please everyone, even your pickiest of eaters. If you have thirty minutes to spare in the evening, you can have this easy one-pot chili mac on the table for a weeknight dinner.
Are you trying to eat more vegetables in the new year? I've found that an easy way to do that is to incorporate them into foods you already eat. I am forever trying to squeeze as many veggies as possible into any and every kind of pasta sauce I make. And this one-pot chili mac gets the same treatment. Garlic, onion, and bell pepper are the aromatic base of the chili and to get some veggie goodness in there, I add roughly chopped matchstick carrots and mushrooms. Matchstick carrots are a great shortcut to make quick work of cutting up carrots. To make things even quicker, you can buy pre-chopped onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and diced garlic from the grocery store. That will easily cut your prep time in half...not that this chili mac takes long to make anyway. While some chili mac recipes break the cardinal rule of chili, which is "No beans!" you won't find any beans at all in my Texas one-pot chili mac.
What is Chili Mac?
Chili mac is essentially a marriage of two great comfort foods: hearty chili and cheesy, carby (I am making that a word in order to describe this dish) pasta. Think of this as homemade hamburger helper--specifically, the cheeseburger mac kind. You know exactly which one I'm talking about. Growing up, we had hamburger helper from time to time and viewed it as such a treat because it was a fun meal we could help make and the beefy, cheesy goodness made all five of us kids happy. This dish is similar in that it's quick, easy, and comes together in one pot. It's even better, though, because you know and can pronounce everything that's in it. And the cheese is real!
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I hope you'll cozy up with a bowl of Texas chili mac at your earliest opportunity. It's delicious at any time of year but especially perfect during chilly fall and winter weather. Sharing is caring, so remember to pin this recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
How to Make Chili Mac
Quick, comforting chili mac filled with cheesy pasta, hearty beef, and tender vegetables
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 5 ounces matchstick carrots roughly chopped
- 1 ½ pound ground beef or turkey or chicken
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
- crushed red pepper to taste
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- ¼ pound baby bella mushrooms roughly chopped
- 15 ounces crushed tomato
- 2 cups beef or chicken broth
- 12 ounces macaroni elbows shells or other pasta
- 2 cups shredded cheese
Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots. Cook down until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant (about 8 minutes).
Clear a space in the center of pan and add ground beef. Season with sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and crushed red pepper then break up ground beef with spoon.
Cook ground beef until fully browned. Add broth, crushed tomato, pasta, and mushrooms and stir mixture a few times to combine.
Allow mixture to come a simmer (softly bubbling after about 5 minutes) then cover and lower heat to medium. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until past is al dente.
Remove pot from heat and stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Sauce should become thick and cheesy. Sprinkle remaining cheddar over top. Serve hot and consume carefully.