Beef Cheese Comfort Dinner Fall Game Day Pasta

Chili Mac and Cheese




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chili mac

Chili Mac and Cheese is the ultimate fall comfort food, perfect for feeding the family or a hungry game day crowd.  Comfort food lovers will appreciate the epic combo of meaty chili, pasta, and lots of gooey cheese.

chili mac and cheese in a large pot

Quick ~ when you think comfort food, what comes to mind?  For me it’s something that looks a lot like this big pot of cheesy chili mac, it’s got everything a hungry girl could want, and more!  The chili is extra meaty with 2 pounds of beef (half ground and half chunks) so even before you add the mac and cheese it’s a winner.  It’s got game day written all over it, just set the pot on the stove, provide a ladle, some bowls, lots of napkins, and let your hungry hoard at it.

A large white pot of chili mac and cheese with snipped chives

Of all the comforting fall soups and stews, chili is  up there on the list for me.  I love how relaxing it is to make, there’s nothing fussy about it, and the flavor payoff is so big for such little effort.  I especially like to double the meat in my chilis, which makes them all that much more satisfying.

Ladling out chili mac from a white pot

MORE CHILI RECIPES ON THE BLOG

a large stock pot filled with chili mac and cheese

MORE MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES ON THE BLOG

a white pot with chili mac dripping down the sides

How to make this chili mac ahead of time

Assemble the chili itself up to 2 days ahead.  But don’t add the pasta or the cheese until just before you’re ready to serve.  If you add the macaroni ahead of time it will continue to swell and absorb liquid from the chili.

The finished chili can also be frozen, but again, it would be wise to add the pasta and cheese just before serving.

a large pot of chili mac and cheese with ladle

 Make this chili mac gluten free

Use your favorite gluten free pasta. I use Barilla regular elbows in this recipe, so their gluten free elbows would be a good choice.

Make this chili mac lower carb

There are lots of lower carb pastas out there, but again, since I used Barilla in my recipe, here’s their alternative.

Omit the beer and replace with more beef broth.  Omit the beans entirely.  No problem, there’s plenty else going on in this chili :)

Make this chili mac paleo and Whole 30 friendly

You could use a paleo friendly elbow pasta, such as one made with sweet potatoes, here, and a dairy free cheese, here, but they are highly processed foods, so your best bet would be to eliminate the pasta, cheese, beans, and beer.  Not exactly chili mac, but still good :)

You might want to add some additional veggies like carrots and extra peppers, and add some sliced avocado to garnish. Use some sour cream if your diet allows.  

Since your chili won’t have pasta to help with thickening, try cooking it down longer with the cover off the pot. You can also add additional tomato paste, or even some almond flour to thicken.  

 

chili mac
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3.48 from 19 votes

Chili Mac and Cheese

Chili Mac and Cheese is the ultimate fall comfort food, perfect for feeding the family or a hungry game day crowd.  Comfort food lovers will appreciate the epic combo of meaty chili, pasta, and lots of gooey cheese.
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 10

Equipment

  • a large stock pot

Ingredients

  • 28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut in small dice
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean beef cut in cubes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounces beer
  • 8 ounces beef broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne to taste
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 ounces uncooked elbow pasta
  • 1 bell pepper cut into small dice
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans drained
  • 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese

garnish

  • 8 green onions finely sliced
  • 3 Tbsp snipped chives

Instructions

  • Process the canned tomatoes and chipotle pepper in a food processor until crushed, about 7 good pulses. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron pot and sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until softened. Toward the end of cooking, add the garlic. Remove to a plate.
  • Turn the heat up and brown the cubed beef on all sides. Try to get a good bit of browning here because it will provide flavor for the chili. Remove the beef to the plate with the onions.
  • Brown the ground beef in the pan, breaking it apart as you cook. When the ground beef is browned, add the onions and cubed beef back into the pot. Stir to loosen any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, beer, and spices. Season with salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon, and fresh cracked pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, covered. (Make sure that the chili is simmering.)
  • Meanwhile cook the elbow pasta in salted boiling water about 3 minutes less than the box directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  • Uncover the chili, add the bell peppers and beans, and continue to gently cook with the cover off. Taste and adjust the seasonings. I usually add more salt at this point.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and cover to let it melt.
  • When the cheese has melted, sprinkle the chili with the green onions and chives and serve.

chili mac and cheese pin

 

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3 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Barb
    September 28, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    5 stars
    Made this today, celebrating the arrival of cooler weather – delicious! Easy to make too. So looking forward to the leftovers to warm up too! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  • Reply
    Penny
    September 20, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    This sounds absolutely delicious. I will try it soon.

  • Reply
    Tricia B
    September 20, 2019 at 4:36 am

    My goodness this looks incredible! I could eat this all week long. Pinned :)