When a hearty bowl of warming chili meets a comforting, delicious bowl of mac & cheese, the result is a go-to weeknight dinner that everyone in your house will enjoy….Chili Mac and Cheese (original name, I know).
I grew up with Hamburger Helper and loved it back then. Now, I can’t stand it. My taste buds must have grown up. Although I’m no longer a fan of Hamburger Helper, I often equate this Chili Mac and Cheese to a homemade version of the meal-in-a-box.
It starts with ground beef and sauteed peppers and onions. The creamy, flavorful goodness comes from your favorite salsa (homemade or store-bought, whatever you have on hand) and some liquid gold…you guessed it, Velveeta.
Once that’s all melted together, add some cooked pasta and after about 30 minutes you’ve got the best homemade, not-from-a-box Hamburger Helper you’ve ever tasted. And it’s just as simple and easy as making dinner from a box.
This is something everyone enjoys, even the picky-eater Farmer. Yes, there are peppers and onions but if they’re cooked enough, he’s learned to accept them. And anything with pasta is a winner with Little E.
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This is a go-to weeknight meal in our house and I intentionally make leftovers to have for lunch the next day. While I’m cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I pack up the leftovers in handy meal prep containers like these and it’s ready to grab when I leave for work the next day.
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Chili Mac & Cheese
This not-from-a-box weeknight dinner is comforting, delicious and something your whole family will enjoy!
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 diced jalapeno (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- Ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup salsa
- 5 oz. Velveeta, cubed
- 3 cups cooked pasta shells
Cook the pasta shells in salted, boiling water until just past al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, add the ground beef, onions and peppers to a skillet and cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked through. Drain if needed.
Add the chili powder and ground pepper and stir to combine.
Add the salsa and Velveeta to the skillet and stir until the cheese is melted.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes to marry all of the ingredients being careful to not allow the pasta to stick to the bottom of the pan.
TIP: Add more salsa to thin out your dish if it seems too thick. You can also add more Velveeta if you want your dish to be extra cheesy!
TIP: Add some drained and rinsed chili beans once the cheese has melted for even more chili vibes.