Light Turkey Chili Mac and Cheese


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound whole wheat macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon coco powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup aged gouda cheese
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese


  1. Heat up the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat
  2. Add the ground turkey and cook until the meat is browned, 3-5 minutes
  3. Add in the chopped onion and garlic
  4. Cook until onion begins to appear translucent, about 5 minutes
  5. Add the cumin, chili powder red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and one teaspoon of pepper
  6. Stir the spices into the meat and veggies and let this mixture cook for a minute or two
  7. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute
  8. Turn the heat to low and add the two cans of diced tomatoes
  9. Fill up one empty can with water and add the water to the chili
  10. Bring the chili to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes – stirring occasionally
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  12. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce
  13. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium high heat
  14. Add three tablespoons of flour and whisk together
  15. Cook the roux, continuously whisking, for about a minute
  16. Whisk in three cups of milk
  17. Let the sauce cook, whisking often, until it is thickened. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon without dripping off
  18. Once the sauce is thickened, remove it from the burner, and add 1/2 cup of cheddar and the gouda
  19. Stir until all the cheese has melted
  20. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  21. Once the chili has simmered for 30 minutes, add the macaroni and another teaspoon of salt and let that simmer uncovered for about 8 minutes, or until the macaroni is almost cooked, but not quite yet
  22. Add the coco powder and stir to combine
  23. Add the cheese sauce to the chili and macaroni, and stir a few times.
  24. Dump the chili mac and cheese into a 9×13 baking dish (you might have a little bit of the mixture left over) and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
  25. Bake the chili mac and cheese for 20 minutes
  26. Transfer to a cooling rack and let sit for another 20 or so minutes