This super simple chili mac and cheese is filled with seasoned ground beef, black beans, peppers, and onions! It’s a lightened-up version of your traditional mac and cheese and it’s made in one pot!
This might be one of my favorite recipes to date. I CANNOT get over how good it is! I know it may not seem like the healthiest dish, but it is lightened up. There only six ounces of cheese in the whole recipe, and you get a good six to eight portions out of it. It makes a BIG, cozy pot that you can enjoy all week long in this chilly weather. Also, who doesn’t love a one pot meal?! Chili + mac and cheese = a match made in heaven.
This is the time of year for one pot meals, and comforting meals. Also, who has time for anything in December? The hustle and bustle of the holiday season leaves so many people lacking in the dinner planning game. I’m here to change that.
Only having to clean one pot leaves more time for online shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, and all the holiday things! Speaking of, I haven’t gotten a tree yet, which is so unlike me. I have an excuse though. My mom and I have been moving into a new condo all week! I’m super excited to be settled in our new home right before Christmas!
I added a little extra melted cheese on top. I just had to! Chili and mac and cheese together is such a winning combination. Two of my fave comfort foods (and most people’s I’m sure!) in one delicious pot.
My not-so-secret secret for lightened-up creamy one pot pastas, is adding milk and chicken stock instead of water. You don’t need any cream or half and half. Just a little cheese, and you have a serious fake-out pasta, that’s way lighter than you’d think! This is a serious crowd pleaser. Kids would loooove this too. Exhibit A.
I used whole wheat pasta here, but feel free to use whatever you like. I love using beans AND lean ground beef, so you get that protein boost too! Another sneaky thing I did here was add two ounces of cream cheese. It just gives that teeeeeny bit of richness that we all need and love this time of year!
This is definitely going to become a regular in the Spices in My DNA household.
One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
This super simple chili mac and cheese is filled with seasoned ground beef, black beans, peppers, and onions! It's a lightened-up version of your traditional mac and cheese and it's made in one pot!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup milk (whole or 2% work best)
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups whole wheat elbow pasta (or whatever short-cut pasta you like)
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, freshly grated + extra for topping, if desired
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add the ground beef, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika and cook until browned, 5-7 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium, and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, black beans, chicken broth, and milk, and raise heat to high. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, lower to medium/medium-high, and cover. Cook for 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir every minute or so to help prevent sticking. I reduced the heat to medium halfway through the cooking time. Once finished, stir in the cheddar and cream cheese until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle a little extra cheddar on top if desired, and cover for a couple minutes until melted. To serve, top with scallions and cilantro. Devour!