Ultimate comfort food. Perfect fall/winter dish. Kitchen Sink Chili Mac is chocked full of healthy comfort food ingredients. This is a phenomenal recipe for the end of the season vegetables like corn, tomatoes, and peppers. Many of the ingredients are most likely already in your pantry/refrigerator/garden. Don’t be afraid to include different ingredients you have on hand. This would be equally delicious with fresh mushrooms, hot or sweet peppers, or carrots and celery. Prefer ground turkey? Have at it. Ground bison? Why not. Feel free to improvise. There are no hard and fast rules for this stove-top casserole. And it’s quick – 30 to 40 minutes tops.
I add canned pinto beans, well rinsed and drained to remove sodium. Welcome is the added protein and fiber.
Essentially, you could stop at this step without adding macaroni. Ladle into bowls. You might want to include cornbread as a side. Or you could add cooked pasta AND serve cornbread – I mean, this is cold weather comfort food. Or serve in deep bowls over quinoa or cooked brown rice.
Like your chili mac spicy? Add diced jalapenos and serve with hot sauce. Like a milder version? Substitute diced sweet red bell peppers. And what is it about a dish with corn and tomatoes in a one-pot meal? I love the fresh vegetable flavors. Corn adds a nice crunch, too.
I under-cook the pasta for 60-90 seconds. I find that pasta quickly absorbs liquid in the skillet and changes the consistency of my chili mac. Instead of being soupy, it’s more like a stove-top casserole. That’s okay. If you’d like a more mushy pasta, cook it according to the directions for the full cooking time. This is large elbow macaroni from Trader Joe’s. I absolutely love it. Look at the groves in the noodles. Just right to capture flavorful liquid, meat and veggies.
I can’t wait for another steamy, delicious bowlful. Can you?
Let’s make a potful.
- 1 pound ground beef (85/15), or turkey, or bison
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, diced or put through a garlic press ( Hint: get a garlic press)
- 1-2 jalapenos, diced, membrane, and seeds removed for a less spicy dish OR 1 large red bell pepper diced for a milder dish
- 15 oz canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 pound fresh Roma tomatoes or other fresh tomatoes, diced OR 1-15oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh corn cut from the cob or 1 cup frozen corn
- ½ - 1 cup beef or chicken stock, or water
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper, if desired
- 1 cup macaroni, cooked according to manufacturers' directions
- In a 3-4 quart pan, boil water. Add 1 cup of macaroni or the pasta you prefer. Cook according to package directions. For a firmer pasta, under-cook 60-90 seconds.
- Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add one pound of ground meat: beef, turkey, or bison, and browned until all the pinkness is gone. Remove the meat to drain on a plate covered with a paper toweling or in a fine meshed colander in the sink.
- Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 Tablsepoons olive oil, onion and cook until just wilted, 2-3 minutes.
- Add peppers to the onions. Either finely diced jalapenos or one diced red bell pepper. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chili powder and cumin.
- Add garlic. Stir and cook until just fragrant.
- Add the cooked meat.
- Add tomatoes, beans, stock and corn.
- Add 1 teaspoonful salt and ½ teaspoonful black pepper.
- Simmer until bubbly.
- Add macaroni. Stir and continue to cook until the ingredients are heated through.
- Check for seasoning.
- Divide into deep individual serving bowls. Top with grated Monterrey Jack cheese and serve.