Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Maw-Maw's Chili Mac Soup

This is the chili soup we grew up with. It has beef and beans and plenty of macaroni noodles too! 

      Believe it or not, this soup is what we knew as chili growing up.  Of course, the chili I make for the football watching crew these days is quite a bit different than this.  But you can certainly see why a mom with 6 hungry kids would whip up this more kid friendly version.  A mild chili flavor with just enough beans to make it a complete meal and plenty of macaroni to make it kid friendly makes it accessible to everyone.

      Of course we knew the difference between chili and this, that is why this was always chili soup and chili was just chili.  We used to eat a lot of chili soup and not much chili.

      Now we eat a lot of chili, but every once in a while you still need to break out some chili soup.  When you do, be sure to have oyster crackers and cheese on hand.  It's the only way to fix it!

     You want to know the funny thing about chili soup?  If you put a lot of macaroni in it, like I normally do, the leftovers are practically goulash.

     The pasta soaks up a lot of the "juice" and magically it turns into something new.  Voila!  It's like a whole different second meal with no extra effort.

    I will have to ask my mom to confirm, but I am pretty sure this is the chili she grew up with as well.  I know she refers to it as Maw-Maw's recipe, so that has to be the case!  No matter where the recipe came from, it is sure to be a budge friendly family pleaser on a cold day.

      We always make this with elbow macaroni noodles. Then the day I was in the mood to make it for the blog, I went to the pantry to grab a box and guess what... no elbows!

      I was heartbroken and discouraged and almost scrapped the plan to make chili mac, but decided to persevere in the face of adversity. So I forged on with rotini instead. Though it still tasted good, it just wasn't the same.

More recipes from Maw-Maw: 

Yield: 12 servings

Chili Mac Soup

This is the chili soup we grew up with. It has beef and beans and plenty of macaroni noodles too!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 45 mins


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • Optional: small green onion, diced
  • 6 oz macaroni noodles (or shape of your choice)


  1. In a large stock pot, cook the ground beef, onions and green pepper (if using) with a bit of salt and pepper until meat is brown and onions are soft. 
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder and tomato juice.  Simmer for at least a half hour or as long as you'd like.  Be sure to stir occasionally.  
  3. Bring to a boil and stir in pasta. Cook to your liking using the instructions on the box to estimate time required.
  4. Garnish with shredded cheese and oyster crackers, if desired. 
Created using The Recipes Generator

Shared at The Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday


  1. This recipe looks exactly like what the hubby's family calls "chili". Without the macaroni though. My family always put macaroni in our chili (thanks to our midwest dad) but there was never tomatoes in our chili. It seems that's the big difference in my dad's chili and my in-law's chili- tomatoes. I like it both ways, although now I'm thinking adding macaroni to my mother-in-law's chili would be delicious! 😁

    1. That is one of my favorite things about soups... you can just keep adding until the pot is full! Plus it is so much fun to see people's variations on the same theme. Maybe that is why there is macaroni in Maw-Maw's chili too. We are about as midwestern as it gets!

  2. Wow, this brings back memories, my daddy used to make something similar. I'll have to ask him if he still makes this, Your recipe looks scrumptious!!

  3. Our family had chili soup too. We never had pasta with it, but lots of soda crackers and cheese.
    This looks yummy.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

    1. For some reason we always had pasta in ours... but there was definitely still room for oyster crackers too!

  4. I have never had chili mac but the granddaughter is a noodle nut so I will have to try it.

    1. I am sure she'll love it! Besides, a few noodles never hurt anything!

  5. Hearty. filling, cheap and easy - the perfect thing to have after all our indulgences over the holidays, right? And something that ISN'T turkey or ham, lol!! I know we had something like this when I was growing up!

    1. Isn't that the truth?! This week is full of parties for me too as a coworker is retiring and there is something every day... after that it is time to clean up my act a bit (for at least a couple of days!)

  6. Hi Carlee, this sounds like a nice satisfying soup that would cook nicely in the slow cooker. I do enjoy thick, warming winter soups.


    1. It is great for the slow cooker! Thank you, Debbie!

  7. This would be perfect on a cold day like today!

  8. Maw-Maw had the right idea! Looks amazing! Thanks for linkin' up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  9. I was just googling to see if my mother's version of chili was unique. She used stewed tomatoes though. I remember her telling me that she learned the recipe from my dad's mother. She thought it odd to add mac to chili but she did. She told me she drew a line at adding corn to it like my grandmother did.

    I wonder if it is a regional variation. I grew up eating Delmarva-style chicken and dumplings (again my father's mother's recipe) and I wonder if this style of chili was common in the region. My own children prefer this style chili over their dad's texas style chili.

    I'm making this style chili tonight but have to forgo the mac. It is still tasty even without the comforting pasta addition.

  10. I think that is cool, that this was your chili. It sounds delicious and I would devour it! Yummo!

  11. I am going to try this recipe and see if my son that is so picky will eat it. Maybe I can disguise the beans with the noodles! It looks so amazing!

  12. This sounds wonderful, Carlee, and so comforting for a wintertime meal. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Oh my goodness, this looks so comforting!!!
    Thanks for sharing on our Soup Swap Recipe blog party for celebrate 365

  14. I'm making this now, Carlee, but adapting it to what I have on hand. It will be a welcome bowl tonight. I started it in my Instant Pot, and put it on slow cook to finish it up.


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