Leftovers Chili Mac

chili mac
Little Hippie was so excited about the prospect of combining two of her faves – chicken chili and “macky cheese.” I saw this recipe on The Fearless Homemaker, pitched the idea to the family, and they all thought it was a great idea for our anticipated chicken leftovers. Everyone liked it, though I thought the chicken wasn’t really necessary. I certainly wouldn’t cook chicken just for this recipe. This is a versatile one-pot dish that can use up all manner of leftovers. It’s basically a quick chili with pasta. I let Little Hippie choose the pasta for our version, and she selected Wacky Mac. It’s not something I would’ve even considered, so I’m glad she got to make the call. Wacky Mac added nice color and texture to the meal with its colors and shapes.



  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced (chopped would be fine, too, but I like to maintain the stealth of the onion in our foods)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small can mild diced green chiles
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked navy beans
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (if you would rather use canned beans, just use 1 can of each)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta
  • Leftover chicken, pork, or tofu (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream or yogurt, shredded cheese, diced avocado, pickled jalapeno slices, green onions.


  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or small stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add dry spices and garlic. Cook for an extra minute or two.
  2. Add meat or tofu (if using). Stir to coat protein with the spices.
  3. Add stock, beans, chiles, and tomato paste. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta, cover, and cook for almost as long as the pasta package recommends (you want it a little undercooked because the pasta will not be drained – it will sit in the hot liquid for a long time, so the pasta will keep cooking). 
  4. Serve with garnishes.

One thought on “Leftovers Chili Mac

  1. Great use of your leftover chicken! And so glad your family liked the dish. =) I think we’ll always wind up putting the chicken in (for the extra heartiness/protein factor), but I agree it could easy be left out for a quicker (and vegetarian) meal. =) Amy @ Fearless Homemaker

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