Chili mac is a thing. And I suspect it’s a thing for a few good reasons. Namely, it’s a family-friendly dinner solution, something nearly everyone can get behind. Chili + macaroni, what’s not to like? I decided to a take a stab at it last week, in part because I was working on this Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili with Kahlua, and I had to go a few rounds to get it just right. So much leftover chili. So much. This chili mac combines four ingredients: your favorite chili, a beer (or broth), elbow pasta, and a splash of cashew, coconut milk, or other nut milk. It’s as healthful as the chili you use. The last thing I’ll say before jumping into the recipe is this, I know of no other dinner that takes less effort than the Instant Pot version of this. It’s literally for nights when calling in take-out takes too long, and is too much effort. Seriously.
Pile on toppings to boost the chili mac nutritionally, and to flair it out in general. I mean, treat it like a taco bar, or a chili bar – anything you would on those things is fair game here. Also, if you don’t have leftover chili on hand – a good canned chili will absolutely work here. I’ll put some related thoughts in the head notes.