My mom’s Cheesy Baked Macaroni has always been a family favorite.
She used to make it for the fam during special occasions such as birthday dinners or holiday feasts. We would sometimes bring it as our contribution to our clan’s potluck parties.
Later on, when I got married, Hubby would request a tray of Baked Macaroni from my mom for his birthday.
What makes this version different from other Baked Macaroni recipes is the flavor and aroma from the red bell peppers. Coupled with the melted cheese, it helps make a truly mouthwatering dish!
It took me a while to gather up the courage to cook this dish given the sheer weight of expectations surrounding it, but I’m sure glad I did!
I was able to piece together the recipe, thanks to my memories from years of helping my mom cook this, as well as a few phone calls to my mom, just to make sure I’m on the right track.
I’ve made this dish three times in as many weeks so far, a testament to how much my fam loves it.
Check it out!
- 1/2 kg elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
- 1/2 kg ground beef
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups milk, heated
- 220g cheese, finely grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
To make the tomato meat sauce:
- Saute garlic, onions and bell peppers in oil for up to five minutes until fragrant.
- Add in the ground beef and cook until it is evenly browned, then stir in the beef cube.
- Pour in the tomato sauce, stir and bring to a boil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss in the bay leaves, and allow to simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
To make the cheese sauce:
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Stir in the flour and cook for about two minutes until a paste forms.
- Pour in the milk and stir constantly until the flour paste is fully dissolved.
- Add in the cheese while continuing to stir until the cheese has melted and blended into the mixture, then remove from heat.
To assemble and bake:
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C).
- Divide the meat sauce in half.
- Mix in the cooked macaroni to half of the meat mixture.
- Coat the bottom of the baking pan with a thin layer of cheese sauce.
- Add a layer of macaroni, then meat sauce and top with another layer cheese sauce. Repeat the three layers if the baking pan can accommodate.
- Make sure the top is covered by a thick layer of cheese sauce.
- Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil.
- Bake with the foil cover for 15 minutes, and without the foil cover for another ten minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve.
Try this recipe for your Noche Buena spread or your New Year’s Eve feast.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!