This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse and it's great! It's the one he made on Jon and Kate Plus 8. My whole family loved it. My kids all had seconds and I think my 5 and 2 year olds had fourths actually. It was a great and flavorful casserole and will definitely be going into our regular meal rotation.
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped into a small dice
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
5 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1, 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, with juices, tomatoes crushed up with your hands
1/2 cup water
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used a 14.5 oz box of Barilla Plus Multigrain Elbows)
1 lb medium cheddar cheese, grated
sour cream for serving
Cook macaroni in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
While macaroni is cooking heat olive oil in a 6-quart or larger soup pot. Add onions and 2 teaspoons salt and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add ground beef and cook breaking up any large clumps of meat. Add chili powder, oregano, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and 1/2 cup water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened to a chili consistency, about 20-25 minutes. Taste and add 1/4 teaspoon salt if needed.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fold cooked macaroni and 1/2 of the cheese (8 oz) into the chili. Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish or 2 8x8 baking dishes if making one for now and 1 to freeze. Top with remaining grated cheddar and bake until heated through and cheese is melted on top, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top individual portions with sour cream if desired.
Freezer Meal Instructions:
After folding macaroni and cheese into the chili in the pot transfer it to a disposable 9x13 or 2, 8x8 baking dishes. Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap and then 2 layers of foil. Label with cooking instructions. Place remaining 8 oz of cheese into 1 ziplock bag for the 9x13 or 2 ziplock bags if you are doing 2, 8x8 pans. Tape cheese bag/s to pan/s.
Thaw for a day in fridge. Remove plastic wrap and foil. Cover loosely with a layer of foil creased in the middle to allow circulation to casserole. Bake for probably 45 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly. Remove foil and top with cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
*To bake from frozen allow far more cooking time - probably 2 hours.