This simple dish is the perfect thing for a lazy cook who still wants something hearty and filling.

From start to finish, you can have this one-pot meal prepared in under an hour. By tweaking a classic family favorite, you can lighten up the calories and boost the veggie quotient considerably.

Skip a step and add your macaroni right in with some extra liquid to round off the dish. Using a Dutch oven, it can go from the stovetop to the oven for easier cleanup, making this the perfect weeknight dinner.

Recipe for One-Pot Chipotle Chicken Chili Mac

Ingredients (makes 8 servings):

  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 packet chili seasoning 
  • 1 7.7-ounce can of chipotle sauce (use less if you don't want it too spicy)
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sautée the chicken, onion, and garlic in the vegetable oil. Cook for 5 minutes, breaking up the chicken as you go. Sprinkle on the chili seasoning, then pour in the chipotle and tomato sauces. Stir and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, chop your zucchini into small pieces and measure out your macaroni. Add the zucchini, corn, macaroni, and stock to the pot and simmer for 16 minutes, stirring frequently. The macaroni WILL stick to the bottom if you don't, so you've been warned!
  3. Take the pot off the heat and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can adjust the seasoning at this point, adding more salt, garlic powder, and chili powder to taste. Set out toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, and chopped cilantro; then dig in.
  4. Prepared as written, each serving has approximately 235 calories. Freeze any leftovers for perfectly portioned, homemade microwave meals.


  • You can make a vegetarian version of this by using tofu crumbles instead of the chicken or just extra veggies like mushrooms, shredded carrots, and some extra zucchini. Just be sure to use mild-tasting vegetables that will take on the flavor of the chili easily.
  • If you don't have vegetable stock on hand, water and bouillon cubes will work just fine. 
  • Adding beans can stretch this recipe out if you're feeding a crowd. Go for a can of drained black beans and stir them in when you add the zucchini and corn.
  • If you can't find a can of chipotle sauce, use the liquid from a small can of chipotle peppers. Save the actual peppers for the next time you make a braised meat dish; they keep well in the freezer. Just remember to label them!

The next time you're at the store, grab the ingredients for this simple recipe and keep them on hand in the pantry and freezer. It's a hearty meal that everyone in your family will enjoy.

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What are some of your favorite chili mac add-ins? What other recipes would you like to see us lighten up? Let us know in the comments.