I had this idea. Maybe it was a bad idea, but I figured, why not. My son, the Big One, doesn’t like Chili. He says it’s too spicy. Has too many beans. Chili just isn’t for him. The Mellow Man, on the other hand, doesn’t like Macaroni and Cheese. He doesn’t get it. He says that cheese and noodles just isn’t enough substance for an entire meal. I like both. So, I thought that I would try an easy Chili Mac dish that would be great for an easy family meal. It’s perfect for this time of year, the cold, the sports (nothing says Super Bowl like a chili-based meal). Plus, unlike Chili, this would be quicker and only require my large skillet. Again, this was my plan. I also decided to buy the Progresso Chili to speed up my cooking– I wouldn’t have to worry too much about adding extra seasoning, all of the kick and tang would be remeasured for me. What could be simpler than my easy one-skillet chili mac, right?
So, I came up with this recipe, and it’s definitely a great combination of both chili and macaroni and cheese, and it is a quick fix with very little measurement. Now, I want to be honest here. This can be done in one skillet. However, it needs to be 1) A LARGE skillet, and you need to have 2 cups of cooked pasta. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for Chili Mac that include uncooked pasta. However, if I did this, much more liquid would have been required, and the cooking time would be longer. Thus, I elected to cook my pasta and add it al dente to the chili as a final step. This saved about 10 minutes in cooking time, and when you are cooking for hungry kids, that’s important!
- 1 16 Ounce box of Cooked Rotini Pasta
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic (use a clove of freshly minced garlic if you’d rather, but again, I’m going for quick and easy here!)
- 1 Small Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 1 Green Bell Pepper Chopped
- 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
- 1 Pouch Progresso Chili, Smokehouse Pork and Beef Chili with Beans
- 1 14.5 Ounce Can of Stewed Tomatoes
- 1 Tsp Cumin (optional, I did this because Mellow Man really likes extra cumin)
- 1 Can Black Beans
- 1 Can Dark Kidney Beans
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Start by sautéing your onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, and once it’s transparent, add in the ground beef. Star the water to cook your pasta at the same time. Once the ground beef is fully browned, pour in your Progresso Chili Pouch. (I also added the cumin at this stage, but you should taste the seasoning to see if it has enough flavor for you. I’ve found that this particular Progresso Chili has some decent heat.) Stir well. Then add the green pepper, black beans, kidney beans and stewed tomatoes. Allow to simmer for a few moments before adding 1 cup of the shredded cheddar. Stir well. Pour in your cooked pasta. Once everything is well mixed, turn down the heat and add the second cup of shredded cheddar.
Here’s what I’ve learned, and I’m writing this to all of the mothers out there who are trying to make game day meals for their family– if you don’t like Chili, or you don’t like Mac&Cheese, you aren’t likely to like Chili Mac. It really has the flavor of both. That being said, if you like both, you are likely to enjoy Chili Mac. Oh well, you live and you learn.
The real advantage of this recipe is the versatility of the Progresso Chili– it’s a ready to go pouch that actually only requires a few moments of heating. (We’ve eaten it before with my cornbread.) My only complaint about the Progresso Chili is the fact that you need more than one pouch to feed an entire family; however, with this recipe, the one pouch is enough flavor and ingredients to create enough for a family of four with leftovers! That’s a touchdown in my opinion!
Would your family like Chili Mac? Are you interested in trying out Progresso Chili? Well, here’s your chance to– follow the instructions below to win $25 to help create an awesome #ProgressoGameDay!
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