Beef Chili Mac and Cheese

June 2014 045This is another family favorite meal, and it comes together super quick and easy.  Another favorite part?  There is actual real cheese stirred right in, and it’s so good.  I love how the meat ends up cradled in the saucy shells.

My kids prefer it with crackers instead of green onion, but it’s the only way I get a whole bowl to myself.  A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do!

Feel free to double this or omit the noodles and freeze it for an easy school night meal.

Beef Chili Mac and Cheese Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium sweet onion, minced

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ – ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes

1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 cups water

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

8 oz (about 2 cups) orecchiette, slightly undercooked (it’ll continue cooking in the sauce)*

1 1/2 -2 cups shredded fresh Colby Jack cheese

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef in the oil.  Then add the sugar, seasonings, garlic, and onions.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water and heat until boiling.  It’ll cook down a little, then add the undercooked noodles and the shredded cheese – stir until melted.  Continue to cook until it’s the consistency you prefer – as you can tell, I prefer mine thick.  Keep in mind, it will thicken slightly as it cools.

*This can be made gluten free simply by using gluten free noodles – I’ve had great luck with Tinkyada Gluten Free Pasta.

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