You can call this Chili Mac recipe anything you want. It has many aliases: chili mac, cowboy macaroni, homemade Hamburger Helper, Beefy Mac Daddy…it’s heard ’em all.
Whatever you chose to call it, it surely will reside in your comfort food category. This hearty supper will warm up any cold day and these ingredients are staples in my house, so you probably already have most of these items in your pantry and fridge!
Start with a pound of lean ground beef (turkey or chicken works well too) and brown it in a large skillet. This looks like an overly large sized skillet, but trust me, the macaroni needs the room to grow!
Add the chopped onion and cook until the beef is almost cooked through.
Disclosure: you should know that Joel has an aversion to real onions, so in any recipe that I can’t hide them, I have to use onion flakes. That explains the absence of onion in these pictures…
Add the garlic and cook out the raw flavor – about 2-3 minutes, which is enough time to allow the meat to cook the rest of the way through.
Tip: adding the onion & garlic while the meat is raw(er) helps infuse the onion/garlic flavor into the beef as it cooks.
Stir in the spices, salt and pepper and cook another 1-2 minutes.
Pour in 2 cups of broth, tomato sauce, Worcestershire or A1 sauce and macaroni. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
If the macaroni is too firm, it needs more time and liquid; add the last cup of broth, stir and cook another 2-3 minutes. I like my mac saucy, so I use the 3 cups of broth from the get-go.
Serve hot, topped with grated cheddar cheese, which will melt into ooooey-gooooey goodness, and hot sauce to spice things up (if your kiddos made you make this dish mild).
You can also add a can of corn, black beans or diced tomatoes to push this dish further into an identity crisis and stretch your macaroni into more servings.
Chili Mac Recipe
- 1 lb lean ground beef, turkey OR chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings (or just dried oregano)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 cups beef broth
- 1 – 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire or A1 sauce
- 2 cups (8oz) uncooked elbow macaroni
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Optional: 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes: each, all or nothing. Totally up to you!
In a large skillet, brown the meat & onions over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat as you stir it around. Add the garlic when just barely pink and cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the garlic, but be sure not to burn the garlic as it will turn bitter.
Add the spices and cook another 1-2 minutes to release the oils. Pour in 2 cups of broth, the tomato sauce, Worcestershire or A1 sauce and dried macaroni (can of corn, beans or diced tomatoes would be added at this point too). Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until macaroni is tender. If the macaroni is too firm, add the last cup of broth (starting with 1/2 cup at a time), stir and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Serve warm, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and hot sauce.
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 4-6 servings