Let’s here it for Mac & Cheese Slow Cooker Chili!
It’s Superbowl time!
OK, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a big football fan. I never really watched football until I met my current boyfriend and I still don’t follow the sport. But I do like to put on my cute Argos hat and go to a live game once and awhile. Live sporting events are always fun, and I even won a years worth of pizza once!
But I digress.
Every year I help my boyfriend throw a Superbowl party, and in return, he helps me with my annual Oscar Party (with minimal complaints). Personally, I love any excuse for a thematic party!
Cantaloupe helmets anyone?
We’ve done the epic dip stadium, pretzel bits, wings, thematic shooters and of course, the classic chili. But I had yet to attempt a mac and cheese chili. I had read about merging these two awesome dishes together in my Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook so I decided to use my go-to chili recipe and slow cook it, mac and cheese-style!
One tip I picked up from America’s Test Kitchen is to mix the raw meat with a panade, a mixture of bread and milk often used in meatballs. This way you can still brown the meat ahead of time to develop the flavour, but prevents it from overcooking in the slow cooker. Also, it helps to line your slow cooker with aluminum foil for thick dishes such as this, to prevent burning.
My fave chili recipe evolved from a Weight Watchers recipe that uses turkey. Healthy and light it has been my go-to recipe for years. But I knew I had to use beef for a mac and cheese Superbowl chili, so what to do? Well, I recently learned a secret from my boyfriend’s Italian grandmother. I could never figure out how she made such light and flavourful meatballs, cabbage rolls and lasagna. The answer was so simple, she uses beef AND chicken! I would never have thought to mix together red meat and poultry. So I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to test out this combination. I think this Mac and Cheese Chili would make Nonna proud!
Red, green and jalapeño peppers join forces to add a light, sweet crunch. There is a good dose of heat from the chilis as well as hints of cocoa and a splash of beer to give the tomato sauce some added richness. I used Daiya cheddar cheese because my poor boyfriend is lactose intolerant. I find this brand really holds up nicely when melted, blending in with the pasta and holding the whole meaty dish together.
Let’s dive in shall we?
Oh YES! This Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili is a tower of epic cheesy proportions. One spoon cannot even handle all the mac and cheese chili action that is happening. Packed full of juicy meat and macaroni, swimming in rich tomato sauce and spice, this is a meal fit for a king, or a group of hungry football fans. The best part is that it only takes two hours in the slow cooker! This crazy delicious marriage of our two favourite comfort foods is super filling, and the leftovers are perfect to freeze for a later date.
Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili
- 1 slice of sandwich bread ripped into pieces
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion minced
- 1 red pepper stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 green pepper stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 jalapeño stemmed, seeded and finely minced
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and finely minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 x 398ml can crushed tomatoes
- 1 x 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
- 1 pound 454g box elbow macaroni
- 1 cup low sodium beef broth
- 1 cup strong dark beer or stout
- 2 x 227g packages 2 cups shredded Daiya cheddar cheese
- crusty bread & butter for serving
Line slow cooker with aluminum foil sheets and coat with vegetable spray, this will prevent the mac and cheese from burning.
Make a panade by mashing the bread and almond milk into a paste in a large bowl using a fork. Using your hands, mix in the beef, turkey, salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers, japaleno, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes. Soften until lightly browned approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently scraping up any browned bits.
Stir in the beef and turkey mixture, breaking up any large piece with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in crushed and diced tomatoes and cocoa powder. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in macaroni, broth, beer and cheese and transfer to prepared slow cooker. Cover and cook until pasta is tender, about 2 hours on high.
Gently stir pasta, adding some hot water if the chili seems too thick. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some toasted, buttered crusty bread on the side.
Our Super Bowl party was really fun, I even tied for second place for the prop bet and I had no idea what I was doing! We also made Brunswick stew in honour of Atlanta and some skillet corn bread for New England. I also found this recipe for football deviled eggs courtesy of My Mommy Style. So cute!
Also check out these awesome cupcakes that my friend made!
The highlight for me was Lady Gaga, I’ve always loved her and this performance was no exception. I feel as though she really took advantage of the platform and maximized the whole space from the skies, to the crowd to her big dance troop. I loved all the glitz and glam of her set. The power of her voice is amazing, especially with the physical intensity of the show. It’s funny and sad how everyone nowadays seems so shocked when an artist doesn’t lip sync.
I had decided to root for New England, so after the nail biting overtime I cheered in victory! A winning team with champion Super Bowl party food. My work here is done!