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Laura Vitale's Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

1-Pot Chili Mac and Cheese Is Your New Favorite Weeknight Meal

Italian-food expert Laura Vitale, host of Cooking Channel's Simply Laura and YouTube's Laura in the Kitchen, knows the importance of easy weeknight dinners. She's teamed up with Red Gold for its Crush Hunger campaign to create this 30-minute, one-pot meal that's a hybrid of two of the ultimate comfort foods: mac and cheese and chili.

"I'm a mac-and-cheese-aholic and I also love chili, especially around this time of year," Laura told me in a phone interview. "I wanted to combine the flavor of chili with the creaminess of mac and cheese. I'm a firm believer that family meal time should be kept as easy as possible — this recipe comes together in about half an hour, it's one pot, and it's a recipe that everybody loves." See Laura's step-by-step preparation in the video below, and then make it for yourself when you want an easy, cheesy, comforting dinner for Fall. In the month of October, if you purchase a Red Gold canned tomato product, a meal will be donated to a family in need through Feeding America food banks.

Chili Mac and Cheese

From Laura Vitale

Laura Vitale's Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe


  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 pound lean ground beef
    1 onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    14-ounce can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes With Green Chiles
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 cups water
    1 cup milk
    8 ounces pasta, shells, or any short cut pasta of your choice
    1/2 cup sour cream
    2 cups shredded cheddar
    4 green onions, chopped (optional)
    Hot sauce, optional


  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef along with the onion and a small pinch of salt. Cook the mixture for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the ground beef is fully cooked and the onions have developed some color (make sure to break up the ground beef as much as you can using a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
  2. Add the water, canned tomatoes, milk, chili powder, cumin, and oregano; bring mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta, adjust the seasoning to taste, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until fully melted along with the sour cream.
  5. Serve with some chopped scallions and a few dashes of hot sauce.
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