2 (7 1/4 ounce) boxes craft macaroni & cheese dinner mix, not prepared
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I like the petit cut)
1 tablespoon mild chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1⁄4 cup grated cheddar cheese, to garnish (optional)
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until tender; drain.
Mix cooked macaroni with butter, stirring well.
While macaroni is cooking, cook ground beef, garlic and onion in a large skillet until beef is browned and cooked through.
Drain any accumulated fat.
Add chili powder, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with their juice), mixing well.
Bring meat mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until macaroni is done.
Mix meat mixture with cooked buttered macaroni (do NOT add any additional milk as package suggests).
Sprinkle contents of cheese packets into pasta and stir until blended.
Serve garnished with grated cheddar, if desired.