- 1pound lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3/4teaspoon salt
- 1/4teaspoon pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped(optional)
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
- 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes,drained
- 115 oz. can kidney beansrinsed and drained
- 1teaspoon liquid smoke(optional)
- 1tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2tsp EACH smoked paprika, ground cumin
- 1/2teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4teaspoon cayenne pepper(optional)
- 3 1/2cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 3cups uncooked elbow macaroni(about 12 oz)
- 2oz. softened cream cheese, cubedI use low fat
- 1-2cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheeseto taste
Heat a Dutch oven medium high heat. Add meat and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned, breaking up meat as it cooks.
Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, liquid smoke, sugar, and all seasonings. Stir in chicken broth and pasta.
Cover, and bring to a simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing the lid. After 8 minutes, remove lid and continue to simmer approximately 5 minutes, stirring often, just until the pasta is al dente. Taste pasta often as reaches the end of cooking to ensure you don’t overcook your pasta.
Turn stove off but leave pot on the burner. Stir in the cream cheese until melted followed by 1 cup cheddar until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste (I like more salt). You can add more cheese if you wish – it can be as cheesy or as minimal as you choose!
Top the pasta evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar. Replace lid until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with sour cream. if desired.