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Chili Mac is a staple of almost any family with hungry kids, and it's easy enough to make while camping that legions of scouts and scouters have come up with their own variations on this, rather basic, recipe. Feel free to adapt to your own tastes. (I'd love to hear how other folks make their Chili Mac...)


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can light kidney beans (or charro beans, or pinto beans)
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 package McCormick's Chili mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar, or Mexican cheese blend (optional)


Boil macaroni 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse and set aside.  Brown ground beef together with onions and bell peppers. Drain and discard excess fat.  In large pot, combine browned meat, macaroni, and all other ingredients.  Simmer together about 20 minutes. Optionally, top with cheese and enjoy!

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Sounds good and easy.

I like mixing my own spices. If you do a search on chili spice recipe there are plenty of ideas. Here's the first one I found:


  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper

It also said leave out the cayenne if you don't want it spicy.

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

It also said leave out the cayenne if you don't want it spicy.

Or double the cayenne if you like to double the pain...

Rolling your own spices is a good idea, but it makes it a bit harder on boys at a campout.

The advantage of the pre-mix is simplicity. The disadvantage is you never get beyond simplicity.

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17 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Ever do Chili Mac & Cheese? Pretty good. Created it during lean times in college.

I'm not quite sure what you mean.  Are you cooking the cheese into the Chili Mac instead of using it as a topping?  Or doing something else?

My son likes those boxes of Kraft macaroni & cheese. Not too long ago, he found some leftover taco meat in the fridge and dumped it into his macaroni & cheese. Said it was good, but he's never done it on a campout (though no reason why not...)

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Well, no official instructions, so it's how you want to approach it. We cook the meat, then set it off to the side and cook the box of macaroni & cheese. When the mac & cheese is ready, we throw the meat and other fixings (sometimes a little water or tomato juice to then it out) into the pot. Seems to work for hungry college students and scouts.

Now, my personal favorite is adding a can of corn, but I'm in the minority there. 


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