1(15.5-ounce) can red kidney beansrinsed & drained
1(14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1(8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1(4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 ½tablespoonschili powder
1 ½teaspoonsground cumin
1cupwhole wheat elbow macaroni
Salt & freshly ground black pepperto taste
1cup(4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Set a large skillet, pan, pot, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart and stirring as the meat cooks. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two until fragrant.
Drain the grease from the pot and add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, Mexican oregano, and elbow macaroni; stir well to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then stir and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed, by stirring in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve immediately.
When you bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer, make sure that the simmer is a simmer...not barely bubbling (or the pasta won't cook and absorb the liquid) and not bubbling too fast (or the liquid may get absorbed too fast and the bottom may burn). For my stove, this was medium-low heat, adjusting up or down a tad as needed when I would stir every few minutes.
If you're highly sensitive to heat -- or if your chili powder is hotter than most -- feel free to reduce the amount. On the other hand, if you'd like your recipe to pack some heat, feel free to stir in a bit of cayenne or chipotle chile pepper powder (my favorite -- for smoky spiciness).
I used small whole wheat elbow macaroni in this Chili Mac to make it a bit more wholesome. If you use a different shape or size of pasta -- or if you use regular white pasta instead of whole wheat -- just keep an eye on things and be prepared to slightly tweak the amount of liquid and/or the cooking time.
For the beef broth, instead of opening a new carton when I only need 1 cup, I usually just use water plus a spoonful of Organic Better Than Bouillon Beef Base. But since it's salty, I always taste the recipe and stir in additional salt at the end, only if needed (rather than adding a pre-measured amount of salt while the dish is cooking).
You may use regular (Mediterranean) oregano instead of Mexican oregano, if that's what you have on hand.
Also feel free to change up the beans and/or cheese in this recipe, such as using pinto beans, black beans, Monterrey Jack or a Mexican cheese blend.