Mexi-Mac ((Part 3 of 3 “Tasty Meals for Tired Travelers”))

The third meal planned for our Spring Break ski trip adventure :: Mexi-Mac. If you haven’t caught the first 2 handy meals our fam enjoyed while traveling to New Mexico follow the links below.Mexi-Mac is a great meal to please a hungry herd after a long day on the slopes. Sure, this is a tasty recipe – but what makes it perfect for travel is just how VERY easy it is to get this meal on the table.

Again, the slow-cooker saves the day and we have another case of dump, stir, cook & serve. But let me pause and say – it was with the Italian Herbed Tomato & Meat Sauce that I realized my crock was fatally cracked all the way through with an almost invisible hair-line fracture ((BOO)). This is the very reason I rarely use this mini kitchen workhorse. It is a fragile thing that cannot tolerate heat & cold when it’s cold or hot. ((you know what I mean??))

Anyway – I prefer to take slow-cooker recipes and twist them into a no-peek recipe. All of the recipes I have shared in this series are capable of being a no-peek, the only adjustment needed is to leave out any cooked meat until the no-peek is done cooking. Once cooking is complete, add cooked meat and re-cover the pot, allowing the meat to heat through before serving.


Back to the Mac. For this recipe, every ingredient needed was brought from home ((except for the sharp cheddar))::

  • homemade taco seasoning
  • canned diced tomatoes 
  • browned hamburger, frozen
  • dried navy beans
  • a nice locally brewed farmhouse ale
  • dried pasta


With the exception of the pasta, all of the ingredients go into the slow-cooker. All that is needed is an extra few cups of water. 8-9 hours on low, and a few dozen ski runs later…


the Mexi – chili is cooked to perfection. 


I love cooking the pasta with the chili — the pasta soaks up all that spiciness and the sauce thickens nicely. I added the dried pasta ((I used Torchiette, but you can use anything handy)) directly to the crock, along with a few additional cups of hot water. Then stirred, covered and cooked on HIGH for 30 extra minutes.


My mouth waters as I recall just how satisfying this meal was. Bursting with the spicy flavors of chili powder & Mexican oregano, curbed slightly by that local ale – speaking of the ale, as it cooks, it imparts a subtle sweetness that works perfectly with those New Mexican spices.


The pasta perfectly soaked up all of the deliciousness of the Mexican chili all topped off with a heap of shredded extra sharp cheddar. I love the mix of pasta and those tiny navy beans – hearty and satisfying. Yes – the taste is always the best part, but after a long, tiring day – one pot clean-up is an equal delight.

Whether you are spending a week on ski-trails or you’re normal week is one where you need to come home to a tasty meal with little effort & clean-up, I hope this little series has given you some new solutions to the age-old question :: “What’s for dinner?!”

Slow Cooker Mexi-Mac
Serves 10
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
  1. 1.5 lb ground beef, browned ((frozen))
  2. 1 c dried navy beans
  3. 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  4. 12 oz pale ale
  5. 2 c water
  6. 2 T homemade ((or pre-made)) taco seasoning
  7. 1 lb dried pasta
  8. 2 c water
  9. s & p to taste
  10. 6 oz shredded sharp cheddar for garnish
  1. Place first 6 ingredients in slow-cooker, stir to combine, cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Thirty minutes before dinnertime, add dried pasta and additional water to the crock, stir, cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes ((or until pasta is cooked through)). Season with sea salt & pepper to taste. Serve topped with shredded cheese.
  2. Serves 10
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