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This Easy Weeknight Skillet Chili Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. It's warming, hearty, and so satisfying for the whole family!
My husband has always had strange food likes and dislikes as long as I've known him. One of the things he's grown to love (because he hated lol) was chili. This is funny to me because he has always LOVED chili mac. Like no joke, it's always been one of his favorites. Lol, and now that I think about chilidogs too, haha.
So, of course, chili mac is something that I've made for him our entire marriage. The awesome thing about this recipe is it's entirely adaptable for being totally gluten-free with just a few minor tweaks. I mean, we all want in on the action when it comes to something so wholly hearty and delicious.
Ingredients that make it delicious!
- Ground Beef - You can sub ground chicken or turkey if you want here.
- Bell Pepper
- Crushed Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Kidney Beans - You can sub black beans or even leave them out if you really don't like beans.
- Gluten-free Pasta of Choice
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A note about gluten-free pasta
This recipe calls for one box of gluten-free pasta. Feel free to use your favorite. I prefer one without corn, which is why I love the Barilla Red Lentil or Chickpea Pasta. I can buy them both locally, and I love the texture. Bonus, they are grain-free.
I've recently found the brand VeggieCraft Farms and their Cauliflower Pasta. It has only three ingredients, which are lentil flour, pea flour, and cauliflower flour. So also totally grain-free. It's a little bit harder to get for me since it's not sold close, but it is available to order, making me happy because delivery is the life where we are.
I recommend both brands for grain-free but you can use your favorite here.
What cheese makes the best chili mac?
For this recipe, I think a sharp cheese works best. My husband usually doesn't like sharp cheese, but when I've tested this, he always loves it more with the sharp cheese. We want to use the Tillamook brand in our house when we can since it has the best flavor profile, and it makes the final chili mac really creamy and delicious.
Make it your own!
Switch out the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken. You can even leave it out and double the beans to make it vegetarian.
Want to add more veggies? Feel free to add more that you like. Some of my favorites to sneak in are extra bell peppers and some squash or zucchini.
Like more heat? Add in a bit more cayenne pepper or even chop a jalapeno and throw it in and enjoy!
Don't like kidney beans? You can sub your favorite like black beans, white beans, or leave them out entirely for a bean-free option.
Let's Make Dinner!
- Cook and drain the ground beef.
- While the meat browns, cook and drain the pasta.
- Add the chopped veggies to be meat and saute until soft.
- Next, add in the drained beans.
- Then the remaining ingredients and spices.
- Once the sauce starts to thicken, fold in the pasta.
- Add additional cheese and top with sour cream and cilantro if desired, and enjoy!
More easy weeknight dinners to enjoy!
Easy Weeknight Chili Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 Small Onion diced
- 1 ½ C Diced Bell Pepper of Choice
- 8 OZ Chedder Cheese shredded
- 2 TBS Tomato Paste
- 4 Cloves Garlic minced
- 14 OZ Kidney Beans optional
- 14 OZ Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 TBS Chili Powder
- 1 TBS Cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Box GF Pasta of Choice
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook and drain the ground beef.
- Add the olive oil, chopped onions and bell pepper to the cooked beef. Allow them to cook until the vegetables are soft.
- To the meat and vegetables, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and drained beans to the mixture.
- Stir in the spices and half the cheese and allow the mixture to start to thicken.
- Once the sauce starts to thicken, fold in the pasta and the remaining cheese.
- Top with sour cream and fresh cilantro if desired and enjoy!