Chili Mac (a Slow Cooker Recipe)

06aChiliMacReadybfLOI got this handy dandy new casserole style slow cooker for Christmas, so, I had to try it out.

The first experiment, made by (more or less) following a recipe in the book that came with the cooker was… okay, but really bland.

My next attempt, tho’, based on a recipe I found on da Google and changed a heckofa lot to suit my own tastes and preferences, was wicked tasty, and I must admit, this slow cooker kinda rocks.

01bSpicesbfLONote: the ingredients list is long, but that’s just because I added a lot of spices to my chili mac. The good part about making something like this yourself is that you get to choose the spices and/or spice blends you like; so go ahead and have some fun.

Veggies and Meat:
•1/2 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/2 cup chopped onion
•1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
•2 tbsp garlic, minced
•1 jalapeno, chopped*
•1 lb ground beef
•1-1/4 lb Italian sausage

•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp chili powder
•1/2 tsp cumin
•1/2 tsp chili powder**
02aVeggiesbfLO•1/4 tsp dried oregano
•1/4 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce, to taste)
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce (optional)

•1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
•1 (8 oz) can tomato paste
•1 (7 oz) can green chiles
•1 cup water
•1 cup spicy veggie juice
•1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1-1/2 cup macaroni noodles, uncooked
•1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
•1/2 cup Velveeta, cubed

04cChiliMacbfLO*If you’d like a milder chili mac, remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeño when chopping – but you might wanna wear gloves while you do it.

**I used Cajun Seasoning

Warm the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeño and cook for five minutes.

Add the ground beef and sausage meat and continue to cook, breaking the meat up until no pink remains.

05bAddCheesebfLOYou can drain the fat from the pan at this point, but I was using really lean beef, so just chose to add the seasonings and continue cooking until most of the liquid in the pan has been reduced.

Add the meat mixture to the slow cooker along with the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, chiles, water, veggie juice, macaroni, and the shredded cheddar cheese and stir to combine.

06bChiliMacPlatebfLOCover tightly and cook on low for eight hours or high for about four hours – until the macaroni is tender and has soaked up all those flavors.

Add the cubed Velveeta, return the cover, and cook on low for another hour or so, until the cheese has melted nicely. Stir and serve.

Don’t care for Velveeta? No worries – just add another half cup of shredded Cheddar cheese – OR – did you know that you can make your own processed cheese food with real cheese and just a few additional (simple) ingredients? Well, you can, and here’s how to do it.

Tasty chili mac, and a pretty darned cool slow cooker, too.

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