Chili Mac Cook-Off


As I said before I am obsessed with Rachel Ray right now and I am happy to admit it.  She makes cooking seem easy and fun….. even if it’s not.  Below are two of Rachel’s Chili Mac N’ Cheese casseroles that I have made and they are to die for.  Casseroles are great when you need something easy to make, inexpensive, and a dish that can feed numerous people.

*Both recipes can be found on her website and I have added the direct links to the recipe titles.


Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pounds (about 4 to 6, depending on size) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bits
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock (Use stock in a box because you can store it in the refrigerator if you have any left over)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce, depending on how hot you like it
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese 2 scallions, root ends removed and thinly sliced


The most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the vegetables.  You can opt for already chopped celery and onions in the produce section of your grocery store, but if you have the time I would suggest chopping by hand because it will save you MONEY!



To make cutting the chicken easier, place it into the freezer for about 15 minutes until it firms up slightly but isn’t frozen through. This will let you cut it up quickly into small pieces.


Preheat broiler and place a large pot of salted water over high heat to bring up to a boil for the whole wheat elbow macaroni.


Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the chicken bits and brown them, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the veggies, stirring frequently, until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the hot sauce and crushed tomatoes, and bring up to a bubble. Simmer the chili for 8-10 minutes to let the flavors come together and thicken it slightly.


While the chili is simmering, toss the pasta into the boiling salted water and cook until al denteaccording to package directions. Once cooked, drain the pasta and toss it into the chili, then transfer everything to a casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and place it under the broiler until the cheeses have melted and the top is golden brown, 2-3 minutes.


Sprinkle the chopped scallions over the top and watch this one disappear in no time.



Cheeseburger Chili Mac and Cheese

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 to 2 cups beef stock (depending on how liquid-y you want it) (I use 1 cup Stock in a box)
  • Worcestershire Sauce, few dashes 
  • Gravy Master, 1-2 tsps
  • Tomato Paste (1-2 Tbsp, in a tube)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar (the sharper the better!)  (I used Cavatappi pasta bc it is bigger and easier to eat or large shells)



Preheat broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.


Place a medium pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the meat to the pan and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.


Add the onion, (Garlic), and chili powder to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is tender, 4-5 minutes. (Add Worcestershire and tomato paste and cook for another minute).  Add the ketchup, mustard, (Gravy master) and beef stock to the pot, bring up to a bubble and simmer until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.


While the chili is working, salt the boiling water and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions then drain thoroughly and return it to the pot.


Add the chili to the pot with the pasta and give everything a good toss. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the shredded cheese. Place the casserole under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese. Serve with a simple salad alongside.


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