Chili Mac with Summer Squash is a budget friendly, easy, delicious meal, with ground beef, pasta, fresh veggies and great Southwest flavor!Chili Mac with Summer Squash is a budget friendly, easy, delicious comfort food meal, with ground beef, pasta, fresh summer veggies and great Southwest flavor!
Well, if you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy to prepare “Comfort Food” kind of meal… this “Chili Mac With Summer Squash” is it!!  I made this Southwestern flavored recipe up as I went along (really), but it is loosely based on the goulash recipe (Italian-flavored) my Mom used to make for us kids when we were growing up.

I fixed this EASY PEASY yummy dish for my husband and I for dinner recently, and it filled us up!  It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a pound of hamburger meat, some fresh veggies from the garden (or store), elbow macaroni, and some tasty Southwestern spices! The recipe serves 4-6 depending on serving size, so all in all, it’s a lot of bang for your hard earned money! Here’s how to make this:

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Cook The Meat 

First, brown one pound of ground beef with chopped onions and a bit of diced jalapeno. When it is nearly done, add minced garlic.

Ground beef, onions, garlic and jalapeno are cooked for chili mac
Drain off the grease (discard), then add one small can of diced tomatoes, a little water, some taco seasoning, salt, and pepper to the beef. (I used 3 large Tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning mix:  “Make Your Own Taco Seasoning Mix”).

Canned tomatoes and chili spices are added to ground beef mixture
Time To Add The Summer Squash!

Stir well, then add zucchini and yellow squash (cut in quarters). I used my homegrown veggies (yay for my garden). Stir again to combine, then cover the skillet and let it all cook for 9-10 minutes. Only cook long enough to cook the squash, but not let it get “smooshy”.

Sliced summer squash is added to chili beef mixture

Summer squash is cooked with ground beef, tomatoes and spices
To Save Time: While the meat and veggies are cooking, cook the elbow macaroni separately in a large saucepan. Once the meat and veggies were done cooking, I uncovered the skillet to take a photo to show what it will look like.

Summer squash is finished cooking with chili beef
Finish Making The Chili Mac with Summer Squash

Once the pasta noodles have finished cooking, drain the water from them. Put the drained macaroni noodles back into the large pot they were cooked in.

Macaroni noodles are cooked, then drained.
Immediately pour the entire skillet of hot meat and veggies into the pan of cooked/drained macaroni.

Summer squash, chili beef and tomatoes are poured over cooked macaroni
Stir it all together, then heat it another minute or two to make sure it is hot… then taste-test it to make sure it is seasoned with enough salt.

Pasta, beef and summer squash are stirred to combine.
Time to EAT!

Ladle the Chili Mac into serving bowls while it is piping hot!

Chili mac with summer squash is placed into bowls for serving
Sprinkle each bowl with a small amount of grated cheddar cheese, then serve it! There ya have it… a tasty one-dish meal that has meat, pasta, AND yummy veggies!

Chili mac is sprinkled with grated cheddar cheese to serve.
All that’s left to do is grab a fork and dig in! Chili Mac with summer squash is quick, easy, totally inexpensive to make, and really good. How good, you ask? The kind of good where you want to “put on stretchy pants and hang out on the couch watching a great movie while you eat this on a rainy day good”.

Sure hope you will give this recipe a try! The leftovers are amazingly yummy, as well- (speaking with first-hand knowledge!)  I think you’ll like this comforting dish as much as we do, and will LOVE how easy it is to prepare!

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Chili Mac With Summer Squash
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
9 mins
Total Time
24 mins
Chili Mac with Summer Squash is a budget friendly, easy, delicious comfort food meal, with ground beef, pasta, fresh summer veggies and great Southwest flavor!
Category: Entree
Cuisine: Southwestern
Keyword: chili mac
Servings: 5 servings
Calories Per Serving: 562 kcal
Author: JB @ The Grateful Girl Cooks!
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 small jalapeno pepper , (de-stemmed and seeded), chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning or 3 Tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 green zucchini , sliced, then cut into quarters
  • 1 yellow squash , sliced, then cut into quarters
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (cooked per package directions)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Additional salt (to taste)
  1. Before cooking the hamburger meat, bring a large saucepan full of water to a boil (to cook the macaroni in)
  2. In large skillet, brown the hamburger meat, chopped onion and jalapeno. Right before meat is fully cooked, add the minced garlic. Drain grease off meat when fully cooked. Return skillet to stove.
  3. Add tomatoes, taco seasoning, water, salt and pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash. Stir to combine. Cover skillet, then continue to cook on medium-low for approximately 9 minutes. Do not let squash get smooshy!
  4. While meat mixture is cooking, prepare macaroni noodles in a large saucepan, according to package directions. When done, drain macaroni, then return noodles to large saucepan.
  5. Add in the hot meat/squash mixture. Stir to combine. Heat quickly (uncovered) on medium-high for a minute or two, stirring constantly, to heat dish thoroughly. Taste test. If it needs more salt, add it now.
  6. Spoon mixture into individual serving bowls. Top with grated cheddar cheese, and serve hot!
Nutrition Facts
Chili Mac With Summer Squash
Amount Per Serving (1 serving (1/5 of total))
Calories 562 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 88mg29%
Sodium 809mg35%
Potassium 767mg22%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 515IU10%
Vitamin C 24.1mg29%
Calcium 231mg23%
Iron 3.7mg21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Chili Mac With Summer Squash

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