My mother used to make this quite a bit, and we all loved it. She called it “goop” because she said it wasn’t technically ghoulash. I call it chili mac, but it’s not technically chili because it doesn’t have all of the chili spices (or beans). As you can imagine, my kids also love it. It’s super easy to make, and, if you’re like me, you probably have many of the ingredients on hand with the exception, maybe, of the ground beef (which I usually have frozen). You could easily spice this up by adding more chili powder and/or red pepper flakes (I add a little of both, but my kids don’t like it spicy). You can also top it with cheese and finish it off in the oven so that the cheese makes a nice warm blanket for the chili mac. This is a great weeknight dinner, and it’s almost better as leftovers.
- 1.5 Lbs. Ground Beef (80/20 or 85/15)
- 3 Sweet Peppers (Green, Red, Yellow or Orange- chopped
- 1 Large Sweet Onion- chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
- 1-2 TBS.Olive Oil
- 2 28 Oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 16 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
- 1 Lb. Macaroni (or other small shaped pasta)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs
- 1 TBS. Sugar
- Salt and Pepper
- Shredded Cheese (Mexican Blend or your favorite) – Optional
Cook pasta to al dente (or even a little less). Drain pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Cook ground beef in a skillet or large saute pan over medium heat. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or large, deep saute pan; add garlic and saute until just fragrant. Add onion and peppers and saute until all are softened. Using a slotted spoon (to drain off some of the excess fat and liquid) transfer cooked ground beef to pot with cooked peppers, onions, and garlic. Add canned tomatoes, paste, and sauce as well as Italian herbs, sugar, and season generously with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Remove bay leaf, and add macaroni to pot. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Garnish with shredded cheese if desired.