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If you’re looking for a great meal that’s not only family friendly, but kid-friendly why not look at a classic? Chili mac is a great variation on mac ‘n’ cheese we’ve come to love, however far too many recipes call for simply adding canned chili to a bowl of pasta to the detriment of the dish as a whole. Why not start from the ground up and serve a chili we really love with the bowl of macaroni?

We wanted to make our chili from the ground up. Instead of relying on a conventional chili, we wanted to make something that wasn’t quite as brothy. Instead, we cooked the noodles right in with the chili, and relied on the natural starches from the noodles with the cheese to bind the dish together. From there, it was a matter of adding our favorite chili ingredients. A mixture of ground beef and sausage elevated the flavor of the meat while jalapenos brought a delightfully grassy heat. Keep reading below for this delicious recipe…

Chili Mac

(makes 4-6 servings)


  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, de-veined, and chopped
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste
  • 1 7oz can green chilies
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups dried macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for about 4 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the ground beef, sausage, and garlic, breaking up the meat and stirring until no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and green chilies. Stir until well mixed. Add the water, beans, pasta, and half the cheese.
  3. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Uncover, stir and let simmer, uncovered, until reduced to the desired consistency. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, cover, and cook over low heat until the cheese melts. Garnish as desired.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted fromDeep South Dish

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