Everyone needs kicked-up dishes like this Chili Macaroni in their recipe file. It’s the best of both worlds combining cheesy macaroni and chili into one hearty dish. The homemade chili is cooked on the stovetop with chocked full of sweet onion., diced tomatoes and kidney beans and just the right seasoning blend. Mixed with cooked elbow macaroni and plenty of cheddar cheese, of course. Bake until bubbly then it’s ready to serve with a dollop of sour cream or any of your favorite fiesta toppings.
This is the kind of pasta casserole I turn to on busy weekdays, or when I need to stretch a meal to serve a crowd. I often make it ahead of time then cover and refrigerate, so it’s ready to be baked when we come in from a hectic day. It’s also a mouthwatering way to serve chili for your game day eats. Set up a toppings bar with sour cream, sliced green onion, salsa, black olives and cheese and let everyone dress their chili macaroni their way. To serve it as a main course add a steamed veggie or a salad and a big basket of homestyle garlic herb bread, and it turns dinner time into a family feast.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium poblano pepper diced and seeded
- 4 clove garlic minced
- olive oil
- seasoned salt and black pepper
- 1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup dark chili powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground ancho or chipotle pepper [more or less to taste]
- 2 [14.5] oz can chili seasoned diced tomatoes
- 1  oz can light red kidney beans drained
- 2 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- toppings: sliced green onions shredded cheese, sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook the elbow macaroni per the package directions until al dente. Drain well and set aside. In a large skillet, cook the diced onion and poblano pepper in a couple of drizzles of olive oil for 3-4 minutes until softened. Season with seasoned salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the ground beef and cook until no pink remains. Adjust the seasoned salt and black pepper to your taste. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, lemon pepper and ancho or chipotle chili. Stir well.
- Add the tomatoes and kidney beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked elbow macaroni, 1 cup of shredded cheese and the cilantro. Stir until combined. Pour into the baking dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Garnish with additional cilantro. Serve with chopped green onions, shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired.