photograph of the healthy chili mac n cheese recipe

Chili mac 'n' cheese

50 minutes
6 servings
  • Preparation time:
  • Cooking time:
  • Total time:

This one-pot dish will quickly become a family favorite, and it’s so adaptable. Change it up, if you like, by subbing lean ground chicken or turkey or using different beans, such as cannellini or black beans.

  • Ingredients
  • Method


cooking spray
½lb 95% lean ground beef
4-5 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 can (15oz) pinto beans, not drained (the liquid helps to thicken the chili)
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, not drained
1 can (4oz) diced mild green chiles, not drained
1½ cups (6oz) macaroni pasta
2oz shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
½ cup sliced scallions


  1. Spray a heavy Dutch oven with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Crumble in the beef; let sit undisturbed for 1 minute, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, until the pink color is gone. Add the chili powder, cumin and the salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the bell pepper, celery, onion, and garlic and cook stirring frequently, reducing the heat if necessary, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the broth, beans (and their liquid), the tomatoes, chilis and 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the macaroni and return to a boil, stirring often, as the macaroni will want to stick. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender.
  4. Ladle into deep soup bowls and sprinkle each with some cheese and scallions. Serve hot with a large salad on the side.

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