One-pot chilli mac’n’cheese

The ultimate comfort food mash-up!

I live for a one-pot wonder! I love cooking, but I also love finding ways top simplify meals and make them easy and hassle-free to make without compromising on taste. Comfort food is my thing, and I always love it when Autumn kicks in and I feel really justified in cooking up big pots of comfort food! Some of my favourites are beef & Guinness casserole, smoky chilli con carne, pork and apple stew and Brazilian pork stew

The brilliant thing about these types of meals is that it’s actually really easy to make them lovely and healthy- you can fit in so many veggies into a casserole or a stew, and the method of cooking often means there’s no need for added fats, so as long as you use a lean meat you can really control how healthy your meal is.

Chilli con carne is a real favourite of mine, and it’s often a Saturday night meal for us, served with some brown rice with lots of lime squeezed over the top and homemade guacamole (or even Brocamole!). I also love toasted seeds on top (sunflower and pumpkin seeds dry-fried for a couple of minutes) and lots of fresh coriander.

I’ve always found macaroni cheese a bit too much on it’s own, as I’m not a huge fan of cheesy sauces- but I loved the idea of making a mash-up of chilli con carne and macaroni cheese! My version doesn’t have a cheesy sauce added in, just cheese stirred through, but you could always add an extra cheese sauce element by using some low- fat cream cheese melted into milk and stirred through.

chilli mac'n'cheese

The result is a big pot of comfort food, perfect for sharing with family or friends, or keeping in the fridge for quick and easy lunches that can be reheated in the microwave in minutes. Not only is this packed with healthy ingredients (and did you know that kidney beans count as one of your 5 a day?!), it’s filling, warming and delicious!

chilli mac'n'cheese pin The Slimming Foodie

My Recipe

Serves: 6
Syns: none
Healthy Extra: A- cheese


  • 500g lean beef mince (less that 5% fat)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 400g can red kidney beans
  • 800ml beef stock
  • 300g dried macaroni pasta
  • 180g cheddar, finely grated
  • low calorie cooking spray/spray oil
  • For the spice mix: 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp onion granules, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt


  1. Get your spice mix ready by mixing all the spices together in a small bowl/ramekin
  2. Spray a large, oven-proof saucepan/casserole dish with cooking spray or oil, and gently fry the onion & garlic for 3 minutes
  3. Add the chopped red pepper, and fry for 1 more minute
  4. Add the beef mince, cook until brown, stirring and breaking it up with the spoon
  5. Stir the spice mix through the meat thoroughly
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and worcestershire sauce, stir again
  7. Add the beef stock and the macaroni and stir well. Pop a lid on and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the macaroni is cooked. for the last few minutes, remove the lid and bubble gently, giving it a good stir.
  8. Remove from the heat, and stir through half of the cheese (90g)
  9. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, and pop under a pre-heated grill for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melty, bubbling and browned a little on top

Additional Info

Don't like kidney beans? replace them with black beans, pinto beans or haricot beans- all still thoroughly delicious!

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