Nathaniel had a brilliant idea of combining a homemade mac & cheese with homemade chili con carne. This is what we made. Inspired by Alton Brown's stove top mac & cheese, we made this meal over two days. I made the chili con carne minus the beans the day before and put it in the fridge. Nathaniel made the mac & cheese which takes about 15 minutes to make -- just about the same time it takes to warm up the chili, so if you plan ahead, you've got dinner ready in under 30 minutes!
Chili Con Carne
1 lb ground chuck, cooked and drained (I rinse mine with water to take out the excess fat)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 Tbsp. chili powder (I use Frontier which is salt-free)
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot sauce (I used a Chocolate Habanero one from Pepper Palace)
14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
16 oz can of red kidney beans
Cook ground chuck in a large pot. Drain and rinse and set aside. Place the onion, pepper and garlic in the pot with a tiny bit of oil. Cook until onion becomes translucent. Add the ground beef back into the pot, then stir in the chili powder, salt and pepper making sure to coat the meat with the chili powder. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the beans and stir.
Cover and simmer on low about 45 minutes, stirring periodically to make sure it doesn't burn. Taste chili and adjust seasonings to your personal taste. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the chili or add the beans and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes longer. If you refrigerate or freeze the chili, don't add the beans until your warm it up to eat.
Serve with toppings or make the Stove Top Mac & Cheese recipe and serve chili on top of the macaroni & cheese.