Photo: Brian Woodcock, Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 
Hands-on Time
40 Mins
Total Time
55 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Talk about old-school comfort: This is a hearty, filling, family-friendly classic. Slightly undercook the pasta to ensure it doesn't end up too mushy. Reduce the amount of ground red pepper for sensitive palates, or crank it up for hotheads. You can brighten the look with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

Cook pasta in boiling water until almost al dente. Drain. Combine pasta and beans in a large bowl.

Step 3

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms to pan; cook 11 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add turkey; cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 1 minute. Stir in marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Add marinara mixture to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Divide mixture evenly between 2 (2-quart) glass baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Top evenly with cheese. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts, or follow freezing instructions.

Step 4

TO FREEZE: Spoon half of unbaked mixture into a 2-quart glass baking dish (such as a Ziploc VersaGlass large square container). Cover with lid; freeze up to 2 months.

Step 5

TO THAW: Remove lid; place casserole in microwave. Microwave at 30% power 30 to 40 minutes (or on defrost setting for 75 pounds).

Step 6

TO REHEAT: Cover casserole with foil; bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in center registers 160°.

Ratings & Reviews


January 21, 2016
Nothing special about this dish.  It was easy and quick to make.  Makes for a nice weeknight meal.


August 15, 2015
Sadly this was nothing like I hoped it would be, when made exactly according to recipe. Others have commented on its odd flavor or lack of flavor. I found it had flavor, just the wrong kind. It's the smoked paprika that really throws things off. If you want to try it I suggest halving the recipe, as it makes two casseroles. If you like it, go for it and make the whole thing next time. I'll go back to my Steak-N-Shake chili 5-way recipe, which is how chili mac should taste. 

Hobocop's Review

May 28, 2015
The final product will render a very bland meal, however, if you're not on a strict diet and not calorie counting, the ways to kick it up a notch are endless. Try hot sauce, grated Parmesan cheese, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, etc!!!  

daneanp's Review

January 08, 2015
I agree with the last reviewer. Good, but for the amount of prep involved, not spectacular. Though it does make a bunch so if you need to feed a crowd, this would work perfectly.

KimfromMaine's Review

November 09, 2014
This was not what I usually expect from Cooking Light. It wasn't bad but I wouldn't make it again. Neither of my kids liked it and my husband and I thought it was just okay. There are too many other good recipes here to bother with this one.

AnglWords's Review

July 10, 2014
This was really good. I was quite surprised. I didn't have smoky paprika but substituted half-sharp; also substituted medium hot chili powder for ancho chili. It was great and will make it again.

Barbawana's Review

July 02, 2014
Made as is, froze half, not great, but decent

CookingDad27's Review

March 24, 2014
i made this tonight and was super impressed. We had been making the Weight Watchers Chili Mac for awhile and this one was better. great mixture. I found prepping the night before and doing three containers (kidney beans, mushrooms/onion/garlic and the pepper with spices) a good blueprint for coming home for a weeknight and being ready to cook! plus you get portions out of this that you can freeze!

sukeedog's Review

March 22, 2014

ktleyed's Review

March 22, 2014
Whole family really liked this - Hamburger Helper without all the salt and preservatives!