Are you looking for a hearty and comforting meal that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner or weekend gathering? Look no further than this Chili-Mac Casserole recipe. This dish is the perfect combination of classic comfort foods: chili and macaroni and cheese. Not only is it deliciously satisfying, but it’s also easy to make with simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry.
In this recipe, we’ll take lean ground beef and mix it with onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, chili powder, and ketchup to create a savory chili mixture that is then combined with cooked elbow macaroni. Top it off with a generous amount of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack pepper cheese before baking to golden perfection.
Trust me when I say that this dish will quickly become a new family favorite. So, fire up your oven and let’s get started making this mouthwatering Chili-Mac Casserole recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re in search of the perfect comfort food, look no further than this chili-mac casserole. This recipe is sure to become a favorite for everyone who tastes it. With a combination of savory ground beef and cheesy elbow macaroni, this chili mac casserole is the ultimate warmth-inducing dish that will surely make you smile and savor every bite.
Not only is the recipe easy to make, but it’s also packed with flavor and can be customized to suit your personal taste preferences. The addition of ketchup, garlic, diced tomatoes, and chili seasoning gives this dish a bold and hearty flavor that will surely satisfy your taste buds.
This dish has balance as well; the lean ground beef provides adequate protein and nutrients while the elbow macaroni offers a wonderful touch of carbs to give you energy. The combination of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack pepper cheese adds that cheesy goodness to balance the tomato sauce’s acidity while blending perfectly with the lean ground beef.
The recipe’s versatility also makes it ideal for any gathering or potluck supper. Whether you’re looking for something simple yet enjoyable for your upcoming dinner party or want to share something homemade during a casual get-together with friends, this chili-mac casserole recipe is precisely what you need.
So, if you are ready to try one of the most satisfying comfort foods around – with its cheesy top layer piled atop light pasta cooked al dente – then give this chili mac casserole recipe a shot. Believe us when we say that you’ll love it from first bite!
Let’s talk about the ingredients of this flavor-packed Chili-Mac Casserole! Here’s what you need:
For the chili:
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce or salsa
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the macaroni:
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 oz)
- Salt for boiling water
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack pepper cheese
The Recipe How-To
Now let’s get into the most exciting part of this article – the recipe ‘how-to’. Follow the instructions below to create a mouthwatering Chili-Mac Casserole that will leave everyone at the dining table satisfied and smiling.
Before we get started, make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients on hand.
- 2lbs lean ground beef
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes chili mac
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce or salsa
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack pepper cheese
Step 1: Preheat Your Oven
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Cook the Elbow Macaroni
Cook your elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Then drain it and set it aside.
Step 3: Brown the Ground Beef
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with onion and garlic over medium-high heat. Make sure to break up any lumps as you go along. Drain any excess fat if necessary.
Step 4: Add Your Chili Seasoning
Sprinkle on your desired amount of chili seasoning to the pan with beef mixture and stir everything together thoroughly.
Step 5: Add the Remaining Ingredients
After adding chili powder to Pan, Mix in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup and season with salt & pepper (about a teaspoon of each should do). Allow this delicious concoction to simmer for about ten minutes. Once done take off flame
Step 6: Add Cheeses and Macaroni
Add cooked macaroni into your pan containing seasoned beef then pour half beef mixture in baking dish , sprinkle some cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese on top until it covers the mixture entirely.
Repeat this process again into layers of remaining ingredient until they run out.
Step 7: Bake Until Cheesy Chili Mac is Golden Brown & Bubbly
Bake in preheated oven for approximately oven 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted, bubbly, golden brown color on top of casserole.
Serve hot with some last sprinkle of cheese if desired! Enjoy your delicious Chili-Mac Casserole that would make your family asking for more!
Substitutions and Variations
Are you looking to switch things up with your Chili-Mac Casserole? Here are some suggestions to shake up this classic recipe.
– Vegetarian: Substitute the ground beef for textured vegetable protein or crumbled tofu. You can also add in some diced vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini or mushrooms for extra flavor and texture.
– Vegan: Use vegan ground beef crumbles and vegan cheese shreds instead of meat and dairy-based products respectively. A homemade chili using beans, quinoa or lentils could work as a perfect flavorful substitute for the ground beef.
– Spicier: If you like your food with a kick, add some chopped jalapeños or cayenne pepper to the recipe. Alternatively, try using spicier chili powder instead of the usual kind.
– Cheesier: Add more cheese into the casserole (use both cheddar cheese and monterey jack pepper cheese) or sprinkle some parmesan on top before baking for a crispy cheesy crust.
– Healthier: To make the recipe lighter and healthier, use lean turkey meat instead of beef, brown rice pasta or veggie noodles in place of elbow macaroni, and go easy on the cheese (or use a reduced-fat option).
– Leftover Chili: If you have leftover chili from last night’s dinner, add some cooked pasta to it and bake it in the oven for an easy Chili-Mac Casserole.
These suggestions ensure to keep the dish fresh while retaining its delicious flavors. Feel free to experiment and make it your own with other variations that come to mind!
Serving and Pairing
Now that your chili-mac casserole is ready to be served, it’s time to think about what to pair it with. This hearty dish is perfect for chilly nights and will satisfy any hunger pangs. The cheesy goodness of the casserole pairs well with a crisp side salad or roasted vegetables like broccoli or green beans.
For those who enjoy an extra kick of spice, serve your chili-mac casserole with a dollop of sour cream or some sliced jalapenos. If you’re feeling adventurous, try topping your casserole with crumbled bacon or avocado slices for a delicious twist.
A glass of red wine, like a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon, would go great with this meaty casserole. For beer lovers, a light lager can be a refreshing compliment to the richness of the dish.
This versatile recipe can also be paired with other classic comfort foods like garlic bread or cornbread muffins. The options are endless when it comes to serving and pairing this delicious chili-mac casserole.
Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just looking for the perfect family dinner, this dish is sure to please everyone at the table. So gather around and dig into this cheesy and satisfying meal!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
As a culinary explorer, I understand that we don’t always have the luxury of time to prepare meals every day, especially for those busy weekdays. That’s why make-ahead meals are a lifesaver. This chili-mac casserole is perfect for meal prepping, making it an ideal option for a delicious and hearty dinner on any night of the week.
To make this casserole ahead of time, simply prepare the recipe as instructed, but stop short of baking it in the oven. Then, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate it for up to two days. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the dish from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while preheating your oven. Once your oven is hot, bake the casserole covered for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and continue baking for additional 10-15 minutes until bubbly and golden.
To store any leftovers of this cheesy chili mac casserole, let it cool down completely before refrigerating it in an airtight container. The casserole will last up to three days in the refrigerator. To reheat, place a portion of the casserole in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high power for 2-3 minutes or until warmed through. Or if you prefer, you may reheat it in the oven by placing it in a baking dish and covering with aluminum foil. Bake on 375°F for 20-25 minutes until heated through.
Whether you’re meal prepping or reheating leftovers, this chili-mac casserole remains just as satisfying and delicious as when fresh out of the oven, making it a perfect way to enjoy this homely dish over several days without compromising its taste and quality.
Tips for Perfect Results
Now that you know how to make a delicious chili-mac casserole, let me give you some tips for perfect results:
1. Don’t overcook the macaroni: it’s crucial to cook the macaroni al dente or slightly under, as it will continue cooking in the oven. Overcooked macaroni can turn mushy and ruin the texture of your casserole.
2. Use a mix of cheddar cheese and Monterey jack pepper cheese: this combination provides the perfect balance of flavors and textures for a cheesy chili-mac casserole.
3. Add some chili powder for an extra kick: if you like your food spicy, don’t be afraid to add some chili powder to the ground beef mixture. It will enhance the flavor and add some heat to the dish.
4. Let it rest before serving: once your chili-mac casserole is baked, allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving. This will help the flavors develop and make it easier to slice.
5. Customize to your liking: feel free to switch up ingredients or add your favorite toppings to make this recipe your own. You can use different types of meat, add more veggies or experiment with different spices.
By following these tips, you’ll have a perfectly baked cheesy chili-mac casserole every time. Enjoy!
In conclusion, this Chili-Mac Casserole Recipe is everything you could ever want in a comfort food dish. The combination of spicy chili and creamy mac and cheese is a match made in heaven. With its easy-to-follow instructions and ingredients that are readily available in most grocery stores, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
Whether you’re feeding a crowd or just looking for a cozy meal on a cold evening, this Chili-Mac Casserole Recipe has got you covered. It’s a great option for anyone who is short on time but still wants to serve their family something delicious and satisfying. And with the wide range of substitutions and variations that you can make, you’ll never get bored of this recipe.
So next time you want to dig into something hearty, reach for this recipe. Its rich flavors, creamy textures, and sheer indulgence will have you coming back for seconds (or thirds!). Trust me, once you try it, it will become a staple in your recipe collection. So go ahead and give this Chili-Mac Casserole Recipe a shot – I promise you won’t regret it!
Chili-Mac Casserole Recipe
- 4 -5 cups chili (home-made or canned)
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 8 ounces monterey jack pepper cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In medium saucepan, simmer chili until heated through.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
- Grease a deep 8-quart or similar casserole dish.
- Spoon 1 cup of chili evenly on bottom of dish. Next, layer half of the macaroni, drizzle half of the ketchup (approx. 1/4 cup), half of the remaining chili and half of the cheeses. Repeat layering with remaining macaroni, 1/4 cup ketchup, remainder of chili and remaining cheeses. Top with jalapeno slices, if desired.
- Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.
- *NOTE: I prefer my home-made chili in this recipe, but if I use canned chili, I like to add chopped green pepper, chopped onion, 4 oz. can green chilies, cayenne pepper or whatever I have on hand to "doctor" it up.
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Mishra Vikas is a digital nomad who loves to explore the world and learn about its cultures. As a programmer, backpacker, and cook, he enjoys sharing his adventures and cooking up delectable dishes. Writing about his experiences, creating tasty recipes, and discovering new places are some of his favorite activities. He’s an avid traveler and passionate chef, always on the lookout for an exciting new journey.