Having the most frugal grocery budget in the world isn’t going to help you any if you can’t put together at least a few healthy, tasty, and cheap eats! Every month, The Outlier Model features a cheap recipe idea, along with the cost breakdown.
Chili? Yes. Pasta? Yes. Together? Hell yes. Chili Mac was one of my first slow cooker successes. Most of the ingredients that you need are probably already in your cupboard or freezer. It’s a great recipe for Sunday batch cooking or lazy midweek meals. The best part is that it is a one pot meal that can be enjoyed as-is or customized to include your favourite chili ingredients.
Brown the beef in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain the fat and add the meat to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the pasta. Mix it up and cook on low for 4-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker settings. I like to set it on the lowest temperature possible and just let it go all day while I’m at work. About 1 hour before it is done cooking, add the macaroni.
If you’re lazy and want to add the macaroni at the beginning, be sure to under-cook the pasta, otherwise it will get soggy! You may have to add water depending on how under-cooked your pasta is.
Serve with a bit of salad, fresh carrot sticks, or vegetable soup.
Servings: 5-6 total servings of meat & pasta.
Cost per serving: $0.70 per serving of slow cooked beef and pasta, plus the cost of your side (salad, soup, etc.)
Frugal hack: Stock up on canned tomatoes and stash them for recipes like this!
Feeling adventurous: There’s lots of additional ingredients that you can add to chili. Some that I enjoy include jalepenos, canned corn, and red pepper. If you get them on sale, it really doesn’t add that much to the cost!