Creamy, Dreamy Chili Mac & Cheese Casserole

Chili Mac & Cheese

I decided since I was off work today, and it was a long & grueling week due to our fiscal year-end crunch, some comfort food was definitely in order. I was thrilled and honored when I was asked by Ragú® earlier this week to create my own spin on their Chili Mac recipe, so I chose to add the ooey-gooey goodness of cheese, both Colby Jack and cream cheese, in addition to some sautéed chopped onions, to turn it into a hearty, creamy casserole masterpiece. This is serious comfort food at its best! If you’re a meat eater, and enjoy mac and cheese, you will truly love this dish!

Feel free to substitute cheddar if you’d prefer, and/or to turn up the heat on this dish, you can increase the chili powder to two tablespoons or add some red pepper flakes.

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  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragu® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook onions for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring and breaking up into small pieces.
  5. Stir in pasta sauce, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
  6. Stir in cream cheese until blended, then add cooked pasta, and 1 cup of Colby Jack cheese, and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking dish, and cook in oven for 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  8. Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese, and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese begins to melt.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Creamy Chili Mac & Cheese Casserole

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Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chili

I had been thinking about making chili for quite a while, and after recently chatting with a friend about one he tried (and said was delicious) that was sweet, but also had a good amount of heat, I decided to start researching similar recipes. As you can probably imagine, there are a TON of different chili recipes on the net to choose from! So, after looking at a bunch, and narrowing it down, I decided to go with one that appealed to me the most (of course, with some of my own modifications). I was a little taken-back with the number of ingredients this recipe has, but decided to just go for it. And I’m glad I did, as this is possibly the best chili I’ve ever tasted.

To be noted, this recipe yields a lot of chili (it almost filled up my 6 quart crock pot), so unless you’re feeding a large family (serves 10-12) or plan to bring it to a party, I recommend dividing the recipe in half.


  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 16 oz. sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 12 oz. top sirloin, cubed into 1/4″ chunks
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 shallot, diced fine
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 1/4″
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 1/4″
  • 1 cup tomato paste (I like Hunts)
  • 1/2 tsp. fine-ground instant espresso
  • 1 15 1/4 oz. can pineapple bits/chunks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 15 oz. cans kidney beans
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 28 oz. can peeled plum tomatoes, chopped (drained, but reserve juice)
  • 12 oz. dark beer (I recommend Guinness)
  • 3 jalapeños peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
About 3 hours to go, but already tasty!


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil. (This step is optional, but I prefer the onions softer by this process).
  2. Add the sausage to the pan, and brown. You may need to do this in batches.
  3. Remove the browned sausage and set aside.
  4. Add the steak to the pan and sear on both sides.
  5. Chop/dice all of the vegetables, and add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, including the meat.
  6. Set the crock pot on low and cook for approximately 6 hours.
  7. Serve and garnish with cheese, sour cream (or substitute plain or honey Greek yogurt)  or your favorite topping.

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