Full disclosure: I picked this recipe up from Publix on recommendation from a very kind couple, who were hanging around the recipe rack at the Wake Forest store, chatting up a store employee and raving about this one-pot dish.
In fact, they were so kind and helpful, my husband joked, as we walked away, "You think they actually worked for the store?"
I took this recipe and a few others home that day ... and finally got around to making it this week. It's such a hit with one of my daughters that she made a special request for me to pack it in her lunches.
One-Pot Chili Mac
Adapted from Publix recipe
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup frozen blend of diced onion, celery and bell peppers. (I used a frozen mix of onions and bell peppers. Freshly chopped veggies would do fine too).
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 16-ounce jar medium think and chunky salsa
1 can red kidney beans, drained (15 or 16 ounces)
1 packet chili seasoning mix (1.25 ounces)
8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 ounces diced cheese (processed bar cheese or colby jack, cheddar or whatever sounds good)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Spray a large stockpot with cooking spray. Season the beef with salt. On medium-high heat, brown the beef. Break it up so it's crumbly.
Stir in the seasoning blend - the veggies - and cook for two more minutes until the beef is fully cooked. Then pour in the broth, salsa, beans and seasoning mix. Stir and bring it to a boil.
Stir in the pasta and cook for about eight minutes. Be sure to stir from time to time. While that's cooking, cut up your cheese. Then, stir in the tomato sauce and cook for one more minute.
Once we got to that final step, the dish was pretty soupy. I recommend letting it sit for about 15 minutes so the macaroni can soak up all of the juices. Or, better yet, cook it ahead of time and eat it for leftovers. This is one of those meals that is even better the next day.
Serve it with the diced cheese.
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