One-pot chili mac and cheese, filled with beans and tomatoes. (Photo: Shawanda Mason)

Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite side dishes. I don’t nosh on it all the time, but when I do, I make sure to really enjoy it. I like making it myself because I can add in the cheeses I love and watch it bubble and brown in the oven. However, there’s a local restaurant where I always order mac and cheese: 1885 Grill. I absolutely love it. It comes out piping hot, bubbling over with cheese, and it pairs well with the blackened trout and collard greens I always order. I’m sure there are other restaurants that have yummy macaroni and cheese, but 1885 Grill is definitely a favorite of mine.

Generally when I make macaroni and cheese, I stick to the traditional ways of making it. The one way I switch it up is by adding in a variety of delectable cheeses. If you’re looking for a way to make a meal out of mac and cheese, I’d suggest making this one-pot chili mac and cheese. It combines the cheesiness and gooeyness of macaroni and cheese with the smokiness and heartiness of a bowl of chili. It really is the best of both worlds. The husband has requested I make this again soon because we both loved it so much and pretty much couldn’t get enough. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
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  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 26 oz diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 10 oz elbow pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

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In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the fat.

Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion softens and becomes translucent and the garlic is aromatic.

Chili macaroni and cheese is perfect on a cool night. (Photo: Shawanda Mason)

Add the cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, and stir. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, chicken broth and pasta. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until the elbow macaroni is tender.

Stir in a cup of the shredded cheese, then sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top. Cover the pot for about a minute, just until the cheese melts.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

This would be perfect with a pan of fresh, warm cornbread. (Photo: Shawanda Mason)

Shawanda Mason is the creator and blogger of Eat.Drink.Frolic. For recipe questions or to chat about eating, drinking or frolicking, she can be reached at [email protected] or by following her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.