#QuarantineCookbook: Cheesy Baked Macaroni

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!

Baked Mac Recipe
Baked Mac Recipe

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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
Baked Mac Recipe
Baked Mac Recipe

Procedure:

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.
Baked Mac Recipe
Baked Mac Recipe

Try this recipe for your Noche Buena spread or your New Year’s Eve feast.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Gear up for cooking.

La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven

Stock up on ingredients.

Jelly’s Picks
Del Monte Salad Macaroni 1kg
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Del Monte Tomato Sauce Original Style 1KG
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Dari Creme Classic 200g
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Jolly Cow Pure Fresh Milk 1Lx3
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Eden Filled Cheese 165G/160G

Healthy Thai Milk Tea at Jelly G, UP Town Center

Milk tea has never been more prevalent lately, but did you know that Thai milk tea has been around much longer than the boba milk teas we’ve been craze-ing about?

In fact, Jelly G, a chain of stores specializing in Thai milk tea, has been operating since 2010.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Together with other food bloggers of #SaanSaPH, I was invited to a tea-tasting at the UP Town Center branch of Jelly G. This where owner Jolly dela Pena and her staff showed us all the wondrous variety of deliciously refreshing drinks Thai milk tea can be made into as well as its myriad of health benefits.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Thai milk tea is made from black tea – the tea variant with the boldest and most complex flavor – with added crushed anise seeds and tamarind seeds and sweetened by condensed milk, giving it that distinct and exotic flavor.

At Jelly G, the teas are prepared and steeped in small batches daily, ensuring freshness and full flavor. Grass jelly – a healthier option to the usual black pearls as it is an antioxidant and aids in digestion – are also added on to some of the drinks: hence the name Jelly G.

Thai milk tea is good for you as it helps in delaying aging, improving digestion and fighting infection. So you can bet that aside from treating your taste buds to some delish milky goodness from your Jelly G drinks, you’re also treating the rest of you to some much-needed nutrients.

Check them out:

King Thai Milk Tea (Php75 | Php95). Made with black tea, condensed, evaporated and powdered milk mixed with brown sugar with grass jelly, this is the classic taste of Thai Milk Tea.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Cheesy Thai (Php85 | Php115). Now take the deliciously exotic taste of Thai Milk Tea and add cheddar cheese and rock salt. Imagine milky sweetness and the slight saltiness from the cheese in one heavenly drink.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Pink Sala Fruit Tea (Php75 | Php95). Sala (also known as snake skin fruit) is a type of palm native to Indonesia and cultivated in other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. The sweet pink-hued juice of the sala is then combined with black tea and brown sugar with a few spoonfuls of popping strawberry balls for added bursts of fruity sweetness.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Queen Green Milk Tea (Php75 | Php95). Jelly G uses jasmine green tea, a tea variant known to help in fighting cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and strokes as well as staving off dementia. In this drink, jasmine tea is combined with condensed, evaporated and powdered milk and brown sugar with chewy black tapioca pearls stirred in.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Oreo Coffee (Php95 | Php125). This time Thai coffee takes center stage. Made with ground arabica beans, Thai coffee is brewed then mixed with condensed milk and crushed Oreo cookies, making this a dessert and drink in one cup!

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Choco Chocnut (Php120 | Php160). Chocolate is mixed into tea and that candy mainstay of Pinoy food pop culture Chocnut, made from coconut milk, crushed peanuts and cocoa powder. A sip of this yummy confection brings back so many fond childhood memories.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

With this selection of drinks, Jelly G has proved to me and my fellow foodies that Thai milk tea deserves more time in the spotlight.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

This Jelly G Thai Milk Tea stall is located at Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (in front of National Bookstore).

Another stall can be found at Third Floor, Market! Market!, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

No time to visit Jelly G’s mall-based stalls? Why not have your Thai milk tea delivered via Grab delivery?

Jelly G Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers of #SaanSaPH, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held here wherein in drink items were served to allow us to sample the fare. These were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Neighborhood Food-find: Pizza Streat, De Castro

Ever since this pizza place opened in the main street of my subdivision, I have been dying to try its offers. So the first chance I got, I took my kiddies here for Saturday night dinner.

The place is quite small, just 30 square meters or so, but according to the owner, it’s already a big improvement compared to the original branch in nearby St. Joseph Subdivision. It has 6 tables inside which can comfortably seat 20 people and 2 more tables outside which can accommodate around 8 more people. I wouldn’t recommend dining outside as it is in a busy street with a lot of passersby and vehicle fumes. The interiors are well-lit with interesting rustic decor but quite cramped due to the small space.

Pizza Streat‘s offers are quite reasonably priced, with pizzas ranging from Php149 to Php159.

  We ordered 2 pizzas: Pepperoni and Classic Cheesy. They were served piping hot; the crusts were thin and crisp, holding up well to the weight of all those stringy cheese and pepperoni toppings.

  

For dessert, we had S’mores Dip, marshmallows flambed to a fluffy and gooey consistency over a bed of chocolate in a heated cast-iron plate. It was served with graham crackers which you can then dip in the S’mores.


I was glad to know that this resto will order delivery soon. When I’m not in the mood to cook but too lazy to go out, I can just call my orders in.

Pizza Streat has since transferred its location to Second Floor, ACM Building, Ortigas Avenue corner De Castro, Santa Lucia, Pasig City. It is open daily from 12 noon to 11pm. To make reservations or to call in your orders, call +63 2 7282856.

Pizza Streat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato