This chili dog mac and cheese combines two of my favorite things to eat—chili dogs and mac and cheese—and manages not to taste all that much like either one, while being wildly successful at being stupendously delicious.
I can’t really explain why I decided to create this chili dog mac and cheese hybrid. I always get a few requests for comforting casseroles this time of year, but if the goal was to end up with a recipe that tasted like both things, I failed miserably. On the other hand, if a tasty, comforting casserole was the mission, then let’s celebrate…and invite a few friends, since this thing is huge.
While I did enjoy eating this, I was a bit confused as to why it didn’t really taste like chili dogs or mac and cheese. I knew the lack of creamy sauce might be an issue, but I thought if I stirred in enough cheese, all would be fine. Taste and texture-wise, I was correct, but the flavors just didn’t come together as I’d hoped. Anyway, I tried, and failed, but also kind of succeeded, and if you’d like something that feels and tastes like an American goulash with hot dogs, then I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 generous teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced green peppers
- 1 pound hot dogs, sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or 3 1/2 cups tomato sauce or puree)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 rounded cups of elbow macaroni
- 8 ounces shredded white Cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- green onions, sliced, for the top (optional)
Step 1: Add olive oil to a large pot and place over high heat. Add beef; cook and stir, breaking up with a spoon or spatula, about 2 minutes. Add onions and salt, and cook, stirring, until beef is crumbly, and onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne, dried oregano, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add peppers, sliced hot dogs, crushed tomatoes, and water. Stir together; bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cooked to your taste, at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Step 4: Once chili is nearly ready, fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in macaroni and return to a boil. Cook pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, 1 minute less than specified in package directions, until not quite tender, and still firm to the bite, about 8 to 11 minutes.
Step 5: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Step 6: Turn off the heat under the chili, drain the macaroni, and add to the pot of chili. Stir until combined, and transfer the mixture into a large, deep (15×10-inch) baking dish.
Step 7: Mix Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses together in a bowl, and transfer about 60% of the cheese to the top of the chili mixture. Use a spoon to thoroughly mix cheese into the casserole.
Step 8: Apply the remaining cheese evenly over the top, and lightly poke down into the surface with the tip of a spoon.
Step 9: Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving, topped with green onions.