1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste, I used 1/8)
salt & pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces whole grain macaroni
2 cups shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
Heat the oil in a large (12 inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add the ground beef, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking up meat into small pieces, until it loses all the pink color, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add brown sugar, tomato sauce, water and macaroni.Bring to a boil. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting theheatso that it maintains a lively simmer (somewhere between medium/medium high), until the macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes or so. Season with salt & pepper if needed.
Off heat, stir in half the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.