As a new mom, I am forever looking for easy shortcut recipes. I used to skip over macaroni and cheese recipes because, for some reason, boiling and straining the pasta just drove me batty. Plus, the last thing I want in the kitchen with my pint-sized helper is a hot bowl of steaming water gushing through a strainer.

So imagine my surprise when I found an easy macaroni and cheese recipe that didn't require any straining. Meet my new favorite recipe:


Chili-Cheese MacI'm a huge fan of one-dish meals, or hearty one-dish entrees that simply need a side salad. This easy pasta dish has ground round, making it hearty, plus canned tomatoes and a hint of spice, for bold flavor (and extra nutrition!). I made the recipe and fed myself and my husband, plus stored more away for later.

The recipe calls for cooking the pasta in a mixture of beef broth and water, which adds great flavor and saves the straining. The liquid is absorbed by the pasta, then you just stir in a quick three-ingredient cheese sauce and you're done!

I made this right when I got home from work. It took about 15 minutes, and then it kept nicely until we sat down for dinner a short time later. Pair with a quick salad, a slice of bread, and your favorite drink; dinner is done!

I was glad I read the review on the recipe. One user said that the dish gets better with time, so I'm looking forward to today's leftovers, and a few easy dinners from the portions I stashed in the freezer! This recipe will easily feed us four more times.


Do you love easy meal planning? Check out our newest publication, One-Dish Meals. You'll find it at check out at your local grocery store. Grab a copy, pick a handful of drool-worthy recipes, and your meal planning is done for the week. Come back and tell me what you made!

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel