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Chili mac means, to some, a jumble of meat sauce, cheese, and macaroni—no clear layers, no naked noodles, a true-blue gooey mess. And it's edible, sure. But to me, chili mac's gotta be piled high in a bowl Cincinnati-style to be real: Noodles on bottom, chili thereafter, and a mound of grated cheese at the top, with each level visibly separate from the other.
And that's what I had in mind on a recent weekend, while watching the NCAA Sweet Sixteen with friends. My mind was set—there was a clear vision for what chili mac should be, as its best self, and I was determined to share it. (So I did, over in our new app! Have you downloaded it yet?)
And with another weekend of games on the horizon (always, it seems like), I think you should make it my way, too. It's not only easy to prep ahead of time and assemble day-of, but it's a crowd-pleaser you can riff on with whatever chili recipe, and toppings, you love. But in case you want some inspiration, here's how I'd build chili mac with 6 layers in mind:
We started from the bottom—with noodles:
Next stop, chili:
It's time to get grating:
Dollop on some dairy:
Add something crunchy:
And send it off with a smattering of something fresh:
What's in your chili mac—and is it layered or mixed all together? Tell us in the comments below!