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Chili Mac

Updated: Dec 9, 2018

My version of Chili Mac consists of humble ingredients, most of which you may even have in your pantry at the moment. The grocery list is minimal, yet it produces a large quantity, making this an excellent choice for a crowd. In the South, we host chili cook-offs in the spring and summer, why not serve this soupy cousin of a dish during the summer months as well. During the winter months, ladle Chili Mac into deep mugs and enjoy a meal that is both comforting and sticks to your ribs.

You should make this meal your own by playing with the spices and adding heat if your family likes a hot chili. I add more chicken stock than necessary because the dried pasta absorbs so much liquid and I prefer soup over "stoup." When I serve the kids, I drain most of the juice and give them chunky hot pasta and ground beef, all topped with melted cheddar cheese.


1 tablespoon olive oil (I like California Olive Ranch evoo)

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

8-12 ounces ground beef (I like 80/20, you can also use turkey)

6 cups chicken broth (I like to use Better than Bouillon mixed with water or homemade)

1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 (14.5-ounce) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoon cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

10 ounces pasta (elbow or another shape)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)

Brown meat

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautee until translucent, then add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the ground beef, and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.

Add liquid

Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder, and cumin. Because I use Better than Bouillon, I hold back on the additional salt until the soup is well mixed and then I taste for seasoning.

Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta noodles. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through about 10-13 minutes.

Finish with cheese

Remove from heat. Top with cheese and cover until melted, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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