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Chili Mac 'N' Cheese Pops

by Julie Klink featured in Homemade Food Truck Favorites

Inspired by


for 18 servings


  • 1 tablespoon
    olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb
    ground beef (455 g)
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 15.5 oz
    red kidney bean, 1 can (440 g)
  • 4.5 oz
    green chile, 1 can (125 g)
  • 3 tablespoons
    tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons
  • ½ teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon
    garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoon
    cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime lime, juiced

One Pot Mac and Cheese

  • 5 cups
    whole milk (1.2 L)
  • 1 lb
    elbow macaroni (455 g)
  • ½ cup
    unsalted butter, 1 stick (115 g)
  • 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon
  • 1 ½ cups
    grated cheddar cheese (165 g)
  • 1 cup
    grated cheddar cheese (110 g)
  • 9 oz
    corn tortilla, 1 bag (255 g)
  • 1 cup
    all-purpose flour (125 g)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • oil, for frying
  • 3 tablespoons
    fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Special Equipment

  • 18 bamboo skewers, thick
    Calories 417
    Fat 18g
    Carbs 43g
    Fiber 4g
    Sugar 5g
    Protein 19g

Estimated values based on one serving size.



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the green bell pepper and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef, break apart, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato, kidney beans, green chiles, tomato paste, cumin, pepper, salt, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and lime juice. Mix thoroughly and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
  5. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the milk and macaroni. Stir continuously until the milk reaches a simmer and the pasta is cooked.
  6. Turn off the heat, and stir in the butter, salt, pepper, Monterey Jack, and cheddar cheeses. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  7. Line a 9x13-inch (23x33 cm) casserole dish with parchment paper so the paper is hanging over the sides of the dish.
  8. Spread a third of the macaroni evenly on to the bottom of the dish and sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese over the top. Spread half of the chili over the cheese. Spread another third of macaroni over the chili, and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheddar cheese on top. Spread the rest of the chili over the cheese. Spread the rest of the macaroni over the chili.
  9. Cover the casserole dish with a piece of parchment paper. Freeze for at least 6 hours, up to 12 hours.
  10. Remove the casserole from the dish using the parchment paper to help you pull it out. Place on a work surface.
  11. Insert 9 skewers into one long side of the casserole 4 inches (10 cm) deep, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Repeat on the other long side of the casserole. Cut the casserole in half vertically, then make 8 horizontal cuts in between the skewers.
  12. Crush the corn chips until they are a coarse sand-like texture, then pour onto a large plate. Put the flour and eggs in separate medium dishes.
  13. Place one of the pops in the flour, turning to coat on all sides, and tap off the excess flour. Place the pop in the egg and coat until there is no exposed flour. Place the pop in the crushed corn chips and coat. Repeat with the remaining pops.
  14. Heat the oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 325˚F (165˚C).
  15. Fry the skewers 2 at a time for 8 minutes, until browned and crisp.
  16. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towels to drain.
  17. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.
  18. Enjoy!