Chili Mac is my easiest weeknight meal that you can throw together in less than 45 minutes.  The best part of this dish is that the entire meal is cooked in one skillet (including the pasta)!


Skillet Chili Mac
Serves 4-6
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Family Cookbook”.


3 tbsps vegetable oil
1 lb lean ground beef or ground chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped medium
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
8 ounces elbow macaroni or other small pasta (2 cups)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato puree
1 cup water
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby cheese

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Drain the beef through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the fat.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion, bell pepper and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Stir in the macaroni, tomatoes with their juice, tomato puree, water, brown sugar, and drained beef.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with cheese evenly over the top, cover, and let sit off of the heat until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.