Trip Jem made Baked Mac for the first time and it’s a creamy cheesy sweet success. Following Panlasang Pinoy recipe, we were able to satisfy our cravings instantly! Read more about food story here.

During Sunday weekend, I had a long nap which made me skip a lunch meal. Did it also occur to you, that whenever you skip a meal or break a fast, your hunger pangs worsen and you tend to follow your cravings? My cravings then was something creamy and cheesy! and there, Baked Mac came to mind all of a sudden!

The problem is I only have a few hours left preparation before dinner time then. I know I could do it myself but I couldn’t do it fast!! I needed the help of Jemboy’s sister Johanna. I found her knack in budgeting, multitasking, and instinct in cooking quite helpful. And it’s not bad to follow the recipe step-by-step but when there’s a dire need to tweak it, I needed one’s second opinion too.

Here’s a picture of our grocery cart. Disregard the red onion as it’s not included in the recipe.

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See below the ingredients list and recipe by Panlasang Pinoy:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. macaroni
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Tomato meat sauce

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 Knorr beef cube
  • 1 small red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
  • 1 lb. tomato sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

White sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups fresh milk
  • ½ cup quick melt cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Set aside.
  • Cook the tomato meat sauce by heating oil in a pot.
  • Sauté the garlic, onion, and bell pepper for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef. Continue to cook until it browns.
  • Add the Knorr Beef Cube. Stir.
  • Pour the tomato sauce in the cooking pot. Stir and let boil.
  • Sprinkle some salt and ground black pepper. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a pot.
  • Add the all-purpose flour. Stir until the flour absorbs the butter and lumps are formed.
  • Pour the milk in the cooking pot. Continuously stir the mixture while heating the milk until the flour dilutes completely. You can use a wire whisk while mixing to make the texture smooth (be careful with the Teflon pot though, if you are using one).
  • Add the quick melt cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese completely melts and is well blended with the mixture. Turn the heat off.
  • Arrange the macaroni in a mixing bowl. Pour the tomato meat sauce in and then mix well. Add a few tablespoons of the white sauce in the bowl along with some shredded cheddar cheese. Mix well.
  • Arrange the macaroni mixture on a baking pan. Top with remaining white sauce. Make sure to spread the sauce all over to cover the top.
  • Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven. Serve.

We did the following tweaks though:

  • While we work on our groceries, I chat my friend Nica for advice. She cooks good Baked Mac and she advice me to change our tomato sauce to spaghetti sauce, so that it’s less sour and more sweet. Instead of picking the spaghetti sauce though, we pick the tomato sauce Filipino style, thinking it’s the same banana.  But no, when we cook the red sauce, I still found the Filipino style tomato sauce quite sour and concentrated for my liking. So we tweak it adding small amounts of water and two tablespoon brown sugar.
  • On the other hand, what we did with the white sauce is we sliced one pack of butter in almost half and melted it in a pan. We add in small amounts of flour so the butter wouldn’t burn easily. Then we add in Anchor fresh whole milk. Little by little we add in flour again. Then followed by one pack of Eden cheese sliced into 6 pieces. We add in half pack cheese more, but I found that the more cheese you include, the more gooey the texture, and the more milk you include, the more creamy the texture. I also found that adding more milk gives off that creamy savory aroma. If you finally sniff that aroma, then you know you’re on the right track with your white sauce.

It’s so yummy!! Our family and friends love it too!

There’s another sweet, creamy and savory dish that I want to try next time, and it’s a version of Angel’s Pizza’s Lasagna. Hope I could blog about it soon.

My note-to-self:  Food delivery, take out, or dine in is a lot easier than cooking it yourself, but we couldn’t be dependent on others’ skill and services all the time. You have to be self-sufficient at times and have mastery on that particular life skill. Enough of all the series marathon on Master Chef Australia, Food Network, Food Wars, Toriko. And let’s get cooking!

Thanks for reading!

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