photograph of the healthy chili mac n cheese recipe

Chili mac 'n' cheese

50 minutes
4 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*
½ lb. 95% lean ground beef
4–5 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 (15-oz.) undrained can pinto beans
1 (14.5-oz.) undrained can diced tomatoes
1 (4-oz.) undrained can diced mild green chilis
1½ cups whole-wheat macaroni
6 oz. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
½ cup scallions, sliced
*Please note up to 10 short sprays of any cooking spray are Free. After that, count ½ Syn for every additional 5 sprays.


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


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