Delicious Decisions: Cheddar Jack Chili Mac

  • Serves: 4; 1 1/2 cups per serving
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cooking Time: 19 - 24 minutes


A classic dish gets a quick makeover. Some flavor combinations never go out of style!


12 ounces extra-lean ground beef
3   cups water
1  14.5-ounce can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained
1   8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1   teaspoon bottled minced garlic or 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1   teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1   cup dried whole-grain macaroni or other small whole-grain pasta
1/2 cup shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese, low-fat Monterey Jack, or a combination (about 2 ounces)

Cooking Instructions

In a Dutch oven, cook the beef over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally to turn and crumble the beef. Drain and discard any liquid.

Stir in the water, tomatoes with liquid, tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, covered, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the pasta. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Ladle the mixture into soup bowls. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Cook's Tip

Instead of oregano, substitute 1 teaspoon of your favorite spice or dried herb. Here are some suggestions: chili powder, rosemary, ground cumin, thyme, basil, or fennel seeds.

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Nutritional Analysis
Per serving
Calories Per Serving
Total Fat
5.0 g
Saturated Fat
1.5 g
Trans Fat
0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat
1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat
1.5 g
49 mg
385 mg
27 g
4 g
8 g
28 g

Dietary Exchanges

1 starch, 2 vegetable, 3 lean meat

This recipe is reprinted with permission from American Heart Association Quick & Easy Meals, Copyright © 2010 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.