Chili, cheese, and pasta… does it get much better than this? This dish is the epitome of comfort food. When I first saw the recipe, I pinned it knowing it would be a hit. But then I started doubting myself and almost didn’t make it. Boy, am I glad I went with my first instinct because everyone ate it. I told the kids it was Taco Mac and Cheese so they gobbled it up as tacos and mac and cheese are their top two dinner choices.
I baked this in a smaller, round dish so it would fit in the toaster oven. The only downfall to my pan is that the cheese wasn’t quite as spread out on top of the dish to add extra cheesiness so use the 9×13 if you can. I also kind of wish I’d used more cheese because I just needed more, but it’s still delicious as is! It does lose some of it’s “chili” flavor as leftovers so you might want to add a tad more chili powder when making it. Finally, make sure to cook your macaroni just to al dente — it should still have a bite to it. I made the mistake of over cooking the macaroni and after it baked, it was pretty mushy.
- 1/2 pound macaroni, cooked to al dente
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 3/4 Tablespoon cumin
- 3/4 cup water (preferably the pasta water)
- 3 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- First, do not over cook the macaroni! It will continue to cook in the oven.
- In a large pot or pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Brown ground beef.
- Remove beef from pan and strain fat. Set aside.
- In the same pan, heat another 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook until vegetables are soft.
- Add water to pan and stir to loosen bits.
- Add tomatoes, brown sugar, and beef back to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add pasta and 1/2 cup cheese to the pot and remove from heat.
- Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 (or other appropriately sized baking dish) and smooth out.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Add 2 cups cheese to top of dish and put back in the oven until cheese is bubbly and browned.
- Allow dish to sit for abut 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from What’s Cooking Chicago