Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chili Mac

Raise your hand if Chili Mac (or Chili Macaroni to be exact) was one of your childhood favorites. When I was a kid, my Mom could've made anything with any kind of pasta and I would've been happy. We ate chili a lot as kids. It is budget friendly and you can make a lot for a crowd without going broke. And any leftovers are fantastic for work lunches the next day. So when you add another cheap ingredient like macaroni then you have a meal that is not only affordable but very filling and kid-friendly as well.
My six year old absolutely adores this meal. He loves to eat chili with ham sandwiches.  He and my husband also love to dip their ham sandwiches into chili. Do any of you do this? It's not my favorite combo, but they love it. And they have the nerve to look at me funny when I dip my cornbread into my chili.  his is what happens when you are raised in the south and you marry a man from northern Indiana. You are bound to give each other funny looks across the dinner table every now and again. That man can make a hot dog seem like a gourmet meal. He is very specific about the kinds of hot dogs he will eat. It's an art form to him. Kinda like pork BBQ is to me. So I get that. But's funny when he talks about certain hot dogs like some folks talk about fine wines. Anyhow, back to the Chili Mac. If you haven't made this in a while. Give it a go again. Remember your childhood and enjoy a warm and filling meal. Perfect for those cool days ahead!
1 cup uncooked macaroni
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)
Boil and cook macaroni until tender. While macaroni is cooking, cook ground beef along with onion. Stir and cook until beef is browned and onion is soft. Add in garlic during last couple of minutes of cooking (so it doesn't burn).
Drain excess grease from beef and put back into pot
After macaroni is cooked, drain.
Add remaining ingredients (minus the cheese) into beef mixture.
Now, how much chili powder you put in is to taste. We like 1 1/2 tbsp., but if you want, start with a tablespoon, give it a taste, and then go up from there with what you enjoy. 
Add in cooked macaroni and stir.
Heat to boiling, stir occasionally, then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes.
Make sure to give it a taste test at this point. I usually find I need to season with a bit of salt.
Then serve and sprinkle each serving with shredded cheese.


  1. With all the new fancy recipe I forget about the old classic. This is a one of our favorite's! Thanks for the reminder!


  2. Woo-hooo I know what's for dinner. Thanks!

  3. I have heard this called something different depending on where I was living. We called it Johnny Marzetti in grade school and my married family called it goulash. I think it is great no matter what it is called so just don't call me late to supper.

  4. When my kids were still at home, I sometimes made this with leftover chili, and sometimes with leftover spaghetti sauce. Both are delish. Makes me almost wish my kids were still younger and living at home! Maybe I will make this as a side dish when they are ALL home for Thanksgiving. Or maybe for my church group luncheon next week. Or maybe just for myself. LOL!

  5. Love this stuff, but you made me laugh about the dipping ham sands in chili, we dip grilled cheese sands in chili and my BFF from Dayton,Ohio, dips peanut butter sands in hers, btw, I'm from Tennessee and would have never thought of dipping ham sand....<3 your page...

  6. Sounds like a filling and warming dish :) I have to admit, I have never tried something like that!

  7. Looks terrific - I think we called this dish goulash when I was a kid...I say call it anything you want, as long as you don't forget to call me for dinner. =) MMMM good!

  8. I'm glad this brought back some happy memories for some y'all. It is always so fun for me to see how people connect with a certain recipe. thank you so much for all the sweet comments!! ~Brandie

  9. Any tips on making this recipe in a crockpot? Thanks!

  10. I actually didn't grow up eating chili mac...but I like it now! :)

  11. I totally grew up on Mac and cheese casserole.
    My mom would through all kinds of things in to the pot, and we always loved it!

  12. There are so many recipes you have that I really want to try and this one was the first, making me a believer that every recipe you post will be delicious!!! It was so yummy! My husband loved it! I used a package of chili spices instead of the chili powder and cumin. I also added some Velveeta cheese for a cheesy chili mac! Will definitely be making this again! Love your website!!!

  13. So glad I found your website on Pinterest. I'm cooking it right now. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I grew up in Northern Indiana, South Bend to be exact. My dad used to make this for 7 of us kids that he was raising on his own. I thought it was just a way to get an extra meal out of the chili we had the day before. I still make this when we have left over chili I add the cooked noodles. Thank you Brandi for reminding me about a childhood favorite!

  15. Thank you! I'm salivating, just thinking about this recipe. So many memories rushing through my head! My kids and grands grew up eating this food...more times than I can count. :=) Looking forward to cool weather returning to AZ!! Hungry for "Slow Cooker Chili", too. God bless you for sharing your wonderful recipes!!

  16. una receta!!! grandiose y riquisima!!! thanks!!!
    great recipe!!!!!

  17. Try this with a spoonful of sour cream and cheddar on the top MMMMMMMMM good!!

  18. I am from Indiana also. Instead of ham ( we didn't get that very often ) we used peanut butter sandwiches . We would dip the sandwich in the chili. Try it next time you make chili. Grandmas would give us some home canned dill pickle slices on the side. Strange combo but it works.


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