Are you in the mood for something hearty and comforting, but don’t have time to stand over a stove all day? Look no further than this crockpot chili mac recipe. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also a crowd-pleaser. Imagine coming home after a long day to the savory aroma of beef, beans, and spices simmering together in your slow cooker. This recipe takes traditional chili to the next level by adding elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese, making for the perfect balance of spice, creaminess, and carbs.
As a culinary explorer, I’ve tried many chili recipes in my time. This crockpot chili mac has quickly become a favorite because of its simplicity, versatility, and deliciousness. You can easily customize it with different types of beans or ground meat (or none at all for a vegetarian version), adjust the amount of chili powder based on your heat tolerance or preference, and even add veggies like bell peppers or celery ribs for extra nutrition. Plus, leftovers can be stored and reheated easily for a quick and satisfying meal any time.
So grab your slow cooker and get ready to make the ultimate comfort food that will warm your heart and soul. Follow along with my detailed instructions, tips, and recommendations to ensure that your crockpot chili mac turns out perfectly every time.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
As a culinary explorer, I can confidently say that this Crock Pot Chili Mac recipe will be the star of your dinner table. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell you why you will love this recipe.
Firstly, it’s simple and easy to make. You only need a crockpot or slow cooker, along with few staple ingredients that are easily found in your pantry or local grocery store. This means that you can prepare this dish without any fuss, even if you’re short on time.
Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. Who doesn’t love a good mac and cheese recipe? By adding the flavors of homemade chili into the mix, you get a classic comfort food with a twist. Plus, the recipe is flexible enough for substitutions and variations – so you can customize it to your liking.
Thirdly, this Crock Pot Chili Mac is simply delicious. The combination of savory beef and beans cooked to perfection with chili powder and other spices creates a rich flavor profile that will have you craving more. The elbow macaroni adds an extra layer of creaminess and texture that pairs perfectly with the chili.
Finally, this recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd or meal prepping for busy weeknights. You’ll have plenty of leftovers to enjoy later or pack for lunch.
Overall, this Crock Pot Chili Mac recipe is easy to make, versatile, delicious, and perfect for meal prepping or feeding a crowd. Give it a try and trust me; it will become one of your favorite go-to meals!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 14.5 oz. can of chili beans, undrained
- 1-2 tbsp. chili powder (depending on your preference)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Note: You can also use variations such as chicken chili or vegetarian chili instead of using ground beef in this recipe.
The Recipe How-To
Now, let’s dive into the how-to of this crock pot chili mac recipe. This recipe has a few extra steps, but it’s worth the time and effort. Trust me!
Step One: Brown the Ground Beef
Start by browning a pound of lean ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the beef until it is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain the grease and add the beef to your crock pot.
Step Two: Add Vegetables and Spices
Add one small chopped onion, three chopped garlic cloves, one cup of chopped celery ribs, and two cups of chopped green peppers to your crock pot. Then add 1 can (15 oz) of chili beans, 1 can (15 oz) of drained and rinsed kidney beans, 1 can (15 oz) of drained and rinsed corn, 1 can (15 oz) of tomato sauce, and 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes to the crock pot with vegetables and ground beef. Mix everything together.
Step Three: Cook on Low for Six Hours
Cover your crock pot with a lid and cook on low for six hours, stirring occasionally.
Step Four: Add Elbow Macaroni
After the six hours have passed, add in one cup of uncooked elbow macaroni to your crock pot. Mix everything well so that the macaroni is fully submerged in the liquid.
Step Five: Continue Cooking on High
Cook for one hour on high or until noodles are tender.
Step Six: Add Cheddar Cheese
Top with shredded cheddar cheese half hour before serving. You will love how melty and delicious it gets!
This slow cooker chili mac recipe may take some time, but trust me when I say that it’s worth the wait! It’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends.
Substitutions and Variations
Are you ready to spice up your Chili Mac recipe? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients to create your own unique and delicious version of this classic dish. Here are some ideas for substitutions and variations to try out:
– Ground turkey: If you want a healthier option, consider substituting ground beef with ground turkey. It’s lower in fat and calories, yet still packs a protein punch.
– Vegetarian chili: For a meatless version of this recipe, simply omit the ground beef and replace it with more beans or chopped vegetables such as zucchini or mushrooms.
– Chicken chili: If you prefer chicken over beef, swap the beef for cooked and shredded chicken. This will add a new flavor profile to the dish, while still keeping its comforting elements.
– Pasta switch-ups: Instead of using elbow macaroni, try using other types of pasta such as penne, rigatoni or bow tie pasta. This will give your Chili Mac a new texture and shape.
– Homemade chili powder: You can make your own chili powder by blending together spices like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. This will give your Chili Mac a distinct homemade flavor.
– Cheese choices: While cheddar cheese is a classic addition to Chili Mac, feel free to get creative with other types of cheeses such as Monterey Jack or queso fresco.
Remember that cooking is all about experimenting and having fun in the kitchen. So don’t be afraid to mix things up and create your very own version of this beloved dish!
Serving and Pairing
Once your crock pot chili mac is done and ready, it is time to serve it up and enjoy the delicious flavors. One of the great things about this dish is that it is hearty and filling enough to be served on its own, but there are also a few pairing options you can consider.
For a complete meal in one dish, you can serve the chili mac with a side of warm cornbread or garlic bread. This will complement the flavors of the chili and allow you to soak up every last bit of sauce on your plate.
Alternatively, if you want to add a bit more freshness to your meal, consider serving it with a side salad or some fresh fruit. This will add some balance to the richness of the chili and provide some additional nutrition.
When it comes to beverages, there are plenty of options that pair well with this dish. A cold beer or a glass of red wine are both great choices for those who enjoy adult beverages, while those who prefer non-alcoholic options can opt for water, iced tea or lemonade.
Overall, serving and pairing options for crock pot chili mac are flexible and versatile. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with complementary sides and drinks, this recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings for comfort food.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
This chili mac recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for up to three months. To make this dish ahead of time, simply follow the recipe as directed and let it cool before transferring it to an airtight container. Be sure to label the container with the date it was made.
When reheating this dish, it is best to use a microwave or oven-safe dish. If reheating in the microwave, add a small amount of water or broth to prevent the pasta from drying out. Alternatively, if using the oven, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F until heated through.
For optimal freshness, we recommend making only the amount of chili mac that will be consumed within five days. If you have leftovers that won’t be eaten within that time frame, consider freezing them for later consumption.
If you find yourself craving this spicy comfort food as much as I do, double the recipe next time around and freeze half for another night when you want something easy and delicious.
Tips for Perfect Results
To ensure your crockpot chili mac turns out amazing every time, I have some tips that will help you achieve perfect results. From selecting the best ingredients to cooking time and seasoning, these tips are very helpful.
Firstly, it is essential to brown the ground beef before adding it to the crockpot. This not only helps get rid of any excess fat but also ensures that the beef is cooked evenly. When browning the beef, break it up into small pieces and cook it over medium heat until no longer pink.
In addition, you can also drain any excess fat from the beef after browning it for a healthier version of this tasty meal. If you’re making a vegetarian version of this recipe and want to replace the ground beef with a meatless option like soy or TVP, be sure to use appropriate substitutes that are hearty and have a similar texture.
Next, you should choose the right type of pasta for this recipe. We recommend using elbow macaroni as its shape allows it to cook evenly and perfectly absorb that rich and delicious sauce. Be sure to cook your pasta al dente and not overcook it since we don’t want to end up with mushy noodles but firm ones with a slight bite.
Apart from these key steps, other tips include using fresh garlic cloves for maximum flavor, measuring seasonings precisely so that everything blends together correctly and seasoning with salt and pepper at every step of the cooking process for an even taste throughout.
One final tip I would add is not to rush the slow cooker part of the recipe. Allow your chili mac to cook low and slow so all those flavors can meld together beautifully giving you great taste in every bite.
By following these tips accurately, uniquely tailored by experts in culinary arts, you will produce an excellent chili mac dish made up of incredible flavors that will impress even the pickiest eaters at your dining table.
In conclusion, if you are looking for an easy and delicious meal that will warm up your day, you have to try this crock pot chili mac recipe! Not only is it a crowd-pleasing dish, but it is also versatile enough to accommodate your personal preferences and dietary restrictions. With the convenience of the slow cooker, you can take pleasure in watching it cook while you get on with your day, stress-free. I hope my detailed instructions and tips have inspired you to embark on a culinary adventure and create the ultimate chili mac! Trust me; your taste buds will thank you.
Crock Pot Chili Mac Recipe
- 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans
- 2 large green peppers, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope chili seasoning mix
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
- cheddar cheese (optional)
- salt and pepper
- In crock pot, combine the first eight ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until heated through.
- Stir in macaroni and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with cheddar cheese if desired.
Your Own Notes
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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.