Best dinner EVER!

Its what my kids said tonight when I served them Chili Mac. I knew they'd like it, but I had no idea they'd scarf it down and ask for seconds! Its always a huge WIN when kids want seconds.
A few years ago I heard someone say that Emeril Lagasse was on a show we used to watch, Jon and Kate Plus 8 - and they went on and on about the dinner he made with them. I decided to go google it and found it.
To my pleasant surprise, its a Martha Stewart recipe that Emeril uses. I'm not a huge Emeril fan {I don't usually care for his stuff} but finding out it was an original Martha, made me want to try it :) And I'm so glad I did. Its kid friendly and Dad and Mom will like it too!

Thought I'd share with you all...

Chili Mac
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield 6-8 servings {it made more like 10 for us}

2 tsp olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped {I added this to the recipe}
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced {I used one}

1 TBL salt, plus more for pasta cooking

2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey {I used about 1 1/2 lbs}

2 TBL chili powder
1 TBL oregano
2 TBL minced garlic

1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, broken with your hands, with the juices.

1 lb elbow macaroni

1 lb medium cheddar cheese, shredded

Sour cream, avocado and tortilla chips if desired. We did all but the chips!

1) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 6-quart soup pot. Add onions, peppers, jalapenos and 2 tsp of the salt. Cook until soft, approx. 2 minutes.

2) Add ground beef, chili powder, oregano and garlic and cook about 5 minutes.
Add tomatos, beans, and 1/2 cup water, stir and bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened to chili consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste and add 1 more tsp salt, if needed.

3) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4) While the chili is simmering, cook the macaroni noodles according to package directions, in boiling salted water. Drain in colander, rinse under cold water and set aside.
Grate the cheese and set aside.

5) Once chili has finished cooking, fold in the cooked macaroni and 1/3 cheese.
Place in a 9x13-inch or other 3 quart casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
Bake until heated through and melted, abut 10-15 minutes.
Top with sour cream, avocados and tortilla chips, if desired!

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