I am a bit of a chili connoisseur, making my own chili from scratch is something I do a few times a year. I use three different types of meat, 4 types of beans, and we never eat it on the day it’s made. It must marry overnight! In my house, we all love Chili Mac, though admittedly we typically prefer it over spaghetti or bucatini noodle. I know that isn’t “mac” anymore, but where we grew up eating it that’s what it was called, nevertheless. I say all that to say, this dish also had staunch competition.
I certainly wouldn’t offer up this chili mac in our local chili cook off, but it would be in the running for best prepackaged, microwave, or canned chili I’ve ever had. When I was a kid, I loved me some Hormel chili. Those days are long behind me, but for nostalgic reasons I’ll buy a can now and then. The chili from Sunbasket was better than Hormel. The chili had a chance to marry, but I could tell it was lacking key flavor elements like oregano, basil, and tartness from a vinegar or vinegar based hot sauce. I also didn’t like the cinnamon and chocolate addition. I typically don’t add cheese to my chili, but this is a forgivable offense being as commonplace as it is. Despite seeing myself as an epicure, as it relates to chili, I have to admit I was not disappointed in this dish. A five dollar bowl of chili mac isn’t something that’s found readily. Sunbasket isn’t going to win a chili cook off with this recipe, but it is a hearty lunch that a splash of good hot sauce is a satisfying meal.
Again, chili isn’t going to be on many diet plans. Serve that up with some empty carbs in the form of macaroni and this isn’t a weight watchers approved meal. The chili mac had less sodium and fat than the jambalaya, but more calories and saturated fat. However, it nearly doubled the protein from 19 to 37g, making it a good choice for those looking at higher-protein diets for weightlifting.