Chili Mac is a popular dish on military bases the world over. Whenever we all got together (this was in the early 60s), all of the kids came too. That’s how gatherings are on military bases. We had to cook in volume and both chili and macaroni are affordable high volume dishes. It helped, too, that chili mac was the most popular dish among the kids. Like so many, we adopted chili mac as one of our family meals. And it has staying power like numerous other military recipes. I ate it growing up. My kids ate it growing up. Now, my grand kids enjoy it.
Chili mac is simple enough to make. Start by making your favorite chili recipe. I like to use ground chuck, but I use whatever I happen to have in the frig. I like to sauté onion and green pepper, and sometimes a small jalapeno pepper. I add chopped tomatoes, but sometimes I use tomato sauce. My mom likes to use kidney beans in her chili, but I like to use a variety of beans. Most of the time, I use a variety of beans: dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans, and pork and beans just to make it spicy, sweet, and a little different. My daughter uses kidney beans and the spicy chili beans with spicy Rotel tomatoes. The most common macaroni we use are the elbows, but again, I usually use what I have in the house (I buy lots of pasta at the BOGO sales). Every now and then, I serve it with large Fritos and shredded cheddar cheese. Probably not a low fat dish.
- 1 pound ground chuck or ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups cooked red kidney beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
- 1 cup of water
- In a large skillet, brown ground chuck in olive oil. When the meat is about a quarter of the way brown, push to the side and add onion and green pepper. Cook until all ingredients are browned.
- Add tomatoes, beans, salt, and chili powder. Stir, adding water a half cup at a time. If the chili is too thick, add additional water or tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Adjust salt and chili powder as desired.
- Remove cover; Add cooked macaroni, and mix well.