Monday, April 29, 2013

Skillet Chili Mac

Skillet Chili Mac - a quick skillet meal of ground beef, tomatoes, chili seasonings, beans, cheese and medium shell pasta.
Skillet Chili Mac - a quick skillet meal of ground beef, tomatoes, chili seasonings, beans, cheese and medium shell pasta.

Skillet Chili Mac

It's been a crazy couple of months around here and this Skillet Chili Mac is the kind of meal that's right up my alley when that craziness happens!

It's easy to make, pretty hearty for a meat loving fella like mine and tastes really good. Like regular chili, it's fairly heavy in chili powder, so if you're not accustomed to using that much, as always, start with a little, taste, and then adjust.

Here's how to make it.

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Skillet Chili Mac

Skillet Chili Mac

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min
A quick skillet meal of ground beef, tomatoes, chili seasonings, beans, cheese and medium shell pasta.


  • 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 or 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound raw breakfast sausage
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (7 ounce) can green chilies
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups dry medium-cut pasta (like elbow macaroni or shells)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided, or to taste, plus more for garnish
  • Optional Garnishes: Sliced green onions, fresh diced tomatoes, sour cream or your other favorite chili toppings


  1. Heat the oil in a large lidded skillet over medium high heat; add the onion and peppers, and cook for about 4 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the ground beef, sausage and garlic, breaking up the meat and cooking, until no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.
  3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and green chilies; stir. Add the water, beans, pasta and half of the cheese. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked through; uncover, stir and let simmer, uncovered, until reduced to desired consistency.
  6. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, cover and cook over low until cheese melts.
  7. Garnish with sliced green onions, fresh diced tomatoes, sour cream or your other favorite chili toppings.


The mix of ground beef and breakfast sausage is key for this recipe. While you may make substitutes, I would encourage you to prepare the recipe as is first, so you have a baseline.

I was conservative with the cheese here using one cup - feel free to increase that as you like. May also substitute 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice for the pasta. I used one tablespoon of chipotle chili powder with 1-1/2 tablespoons of regular chili powder; with that as written, this chili is quite fiery. I also used Hunt's fire roasted tomatoes, using my kitchen shears to break them up smaller. You may also substitute 1 (10-ounce) can Chili Fixin's or diced tomatoes with green chilies (like mild or original Rotel) for the regular diced, but be mindful of the other heat elements that you use in the recipe. For more juice, add in additional tomatoes and/or sauce; to transform to a soup, add beef broth to desired consistency.

Instant Pot: Prepare as above, except increase water to 2-1/2 cups, or may substitute beef broth and do not stir in cheese before cooking. Set for high, 6 minutes and when done, quick release, add half of the cheese, stir in, top with remaining cheese and seal pot until cheese melts.

Mexican Skillet Mac: Reduce chili powder to 1/2 tablespoon and add in one packet of taco seasoning, or equivalent homemade seasoning blend. Substitute 2 cups of homemade or commercial salsa for the diced tomatoes and one can of black beans or other canned beans, drained and rinsed well, for the pinto beans, if desired. Garnish finished skillet with diced avocado and cilantro.

Chili Cornbread Casserole Variation: Prepare chili as above in a deep, oven safe skillet, except omit the pasta and water. Cook on stovetop for 20 minutes covered. Meanwhile, mix one (approx. 8 ounce) cornbread mix according to package directions and using a knife, spread batter to within about a half inch of skillet edges. Transfer to a preheated 375 degree F oven and bake, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until cornbread topping is golden brown.

Beans, Chili, Green Chilies, Ground Beef, Main Dish Skillet Meals, Sausage, Skillet, Tex Mex
Main Dish, Dinner, Skillet Meals
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