I will never forget his reaction when I put the bowl down in front of him and he took his first bite. His face lit up with glee and he immediately turned to the business of shoveling huge spoonfuls of Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes into his mouth, as fast as he possibly could. HELLO solid food....
And when the bowl was empty, he thrust his hands together and desperately starting signing "MORE" over and over again. He was only about 6 months old.
Teaching my kids basic sign language before they could talk was one of the best things I ever did. It empowered them because they could still communicate with us and it was a lot less frustrating for everyone. Apparently, kids comprehend at least 100 words before they can actually verbalize them, so signing is a great way for kids to express themselves. And having the ability to ask for more of this delicious macaroni and cheese was pretty darn empowering!
Macaroni Cheese and Tomatoes
This Macaroni cheese and tomatoes was not only my son’s very first real solid food (aside from pablum), it was my daughter's and likely mine as well. And when I need comfort, this is exactly what I yearn for. And although I've been making it for myself and my kids for years, it's still waaay better if my mom makes it! But isn't everything so much better when your Mom makes it?
Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese
I recently reconnected with an old friend from elementary school and out of the blue she said she still remembered my Mom's macaroni cheese and tomatoes! And while I'm sure there are other people out there who make it this way, I've never actually come across anyone that does.
It's so simple, yet so amazing! And this Old Fashioned Date Nut Loaf is another one of those simple, yet amazing recipes that my family has been making for generations. What I love most about these recipes is that they are made with real ingredients - the same ingredients that have been around for generations.
Easy Baked Mac and Cheese
It doesn't get much easier than 3 ingredients, with a baking time of 3-5 minutes. I only put this baked mac and cheese in the oven to melt the cheese. And although I used a casserole dish to pretty up the photos, I usually just bake it in the same pot I cook the macaroni in on the stove top (just make sure your pot is oven safe!~) or I use my dutch oven. I love that it's a one-pot meal!
Healthier Mac & Cheese
If I’m going to eat macaroni, I want to make it as healthy as possible. Since whole wheat pasta takes such a long time to cook (and I find it a bit too dense), I prefer to use “smart pasta”. Smart pasta tends to cook faster than whole wheat but you still get 4X as much fibre than white pasta. Although it’s not quite as healthy as the whole wheat, you are still getting those additional benefits. And if you’re not a fan of whole wheat, it’s a good alternative. To keep the fat content down, I will also regularly use low-fat cheese. But you need to be careful and keep a close watch on the cheese in the oven because it has a tendency to burn even quicker than regular cheese.
My son will be 14 years old next month and he still loves this baked macaroni. However, these days he could probably devour the entire pot! It's become the ultimate comfort food for my kids as much as it is for me and I'm sure that this recipe will continue on comforting many more generations....
I hope you get as much comfort from it as we do!
My Amazon Recommendations (affiliate links)
Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes
- 375 g -box of uncooked elbow macaroni I use Smart pasta (see post)
- **2 tsp olive oil (optional)
- 28 oz -can diced tomatoes
- 500 g - package of sharp/old cheddar cheese, grated * add more (or less) to your liking
- Cook elbow macaroni as per instructions. * I add some olive oil to prevent it from sticking, but that's optional. Drain macaroni through colander.
- Return to pot or casserole dish and add tomatoes.
- Mix tomatoes into macaroni.
- Heat oven to broil (500 degrees F) and top with shredded cheese.
- Bake macaroni and cheese with tomatoes on middle rack under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned (to your preference). * I put a cookie sheet underneath to prevent spills from dripping down. * Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
- Serve hot.
More Pasta Recipes!
This post part of The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck!