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Carb Diva's Chili Macaroni Casserole

Updated on September 19, 2015
5 stars from 1 rating of Carb Diva's Chili Macaroni Casserole

Chili Weather

No, that's not a typo. I awoke this morning feeling a chill in the air, and knowing that despite the cherry blossoms on the trees and daffodils in the flowerbeds, it is still winter.

This is exactly the type of day for chili. But it's also a day in which I have, at last count, 101 things to accomplish. So I'm going to rely on my pantry and prepare a casserole for our evening meal that has been a hit with my kids since they were little.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 6


  • 1 lb. dry macaroni, (my kids love the kind shaped like wagon wheels, but any kind will do)
  • 2 cans chili, (use whichever type is your favorite) or see link below for CarbDiva chili
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 4 cups crushed torilla chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and place in large mixing bowl. Gently stir in chili, salsa, 1 cup of the cheese, and the crushed tortilla chips.
  3. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread macaroni/chili mixture in dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
  5. NOTE: You can omit the salsa if you prefer a less spicy meal. This is also a great place to "hide" additional vegetables--corn, cooked carrots, or diced zucchini.


Of course, this is a very basic recipe that can be modified to suit your family's preferences. For example:

  • Stir in some veggies (corn, grated zucchini, spinach)
  • Add chopped tomato or olives
  • Substitute one can no-bean chili and one can (drained) black beans for the chili
  • Garnish with sour cream and/or guacamole

If you have the time...

I think homemade chili is always better than canned. Canned is quick, but if you make your own you know exactly what you are eating, and you can control the amount of salt and spice. I won 1st place in a chili contest several years ago with this recipe:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • * 1 - 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • * 1/4 - 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1 large can kidney beans, drained

  1. Crumble meats into large skillet.
  2. Cook over medium heat until no pink remains. Remove from pan and drain well.
  3. Return pan to heat. Sauté onions in olive oil until soft--do not allow to brown.
  4. Return meat to pan. Add tomatoes and spices. Simmer, covered, 2 hours.
  5. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  6. Stir in beans and cook an additional hour. Watch carefully--it tends to scorch because it is very thick. Add a bit of water if needed.

* amount you use depends on how hot you want the chili to be

© 2013 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 years ago from Washington State, USA

      I used one cup (and have since updated the recipe). Thanks for asking. I hope you enjoy it.

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Hello. Sounds great. Will try this tomorrow night. How much salsa, as it isn't listed in the ingredients. Thanks.

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