Hey everyone! Happy Giving Tuesday! After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, charitable groups have pooled together to start a new tradition, Giving Tuesday! Basically, after all the “consumption time” it is a day to give back, show some generosity and help others by volunteering or donating to a cause.
Ever since I was a teenager, I have enjoyed volunteering and try to spend at least one day a week (sometimes 3 days a week) to help my community. A while ago on my Black Beauty post, I talked about wanting to volunteer to help animals. I finally was able to find an animal rescue near my area that was looking for volunteers. Yay! I have been volunteering at East County Animal Rescue for about a week now helping to take care of rescued cats that are up for adoption. I volunteer at one of their adoption locations at a local pet store. I’m scheduled for Tuesdays so I was there today and got to spend the morning with the kitties!
These kitties are so fun and so cute! You can forget that you are giving back when you are with them!
Now, back to the food world. I’m sorry I have to talk about food while I had just showed some cute pictures of cats. I know some people in the world eat cats and even some Filipinos joke about other Filipinos eating cats or dogs. Do not worry, I’m am definitely not one of those people who eat cats or dogs. I wouldn’t be able to do that at all. I feel sad even about rabbits as food because I had a pet rabbit at one time. It can be a touchy subject.
Anyways, this Beef Macaroni recipe has a special place in my heart because it is a recipe by my Godmother’s mother who is no longer with us. She was like a Grandmother to us and she was a very generous lady. She was always giving her time and effort to care for other people and help make them happy. She welcomed visitors. She was an excellent cook who made the best Pancit Malabon and this Beef Macaroni was also one her specialties. Whenever you came to visit, whether it was a special occasion or not, she made sure you were fed & happy and would send you home with a casserole dish of food. Though I never got her beef macaroni recipe, this one comes pretty close. Let me tell you, this macaroni dish is addicting! For Giving Tuesday, I dedicate this post to woman who had a giving spirit, Ibene Sese, who we affectionately called Mommy Bene.
Mommy Bene’s Macaroni with Beef
- 1 lb elbow macaroni (I used a really good gluten-free quinoa macaroni)
- Dash of cooking oil
- 1 cup-1.5 cups chopped onions
- ~5-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 lb ground beef (I used 85-15, but any ground meat or meat substitute of your choice would work)
- 2 hot dogs, sliced (my preference is uncured, all beef hot dogs though you can use any type, even veggie hot dogs)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup tomato ketchup (I to use like an organic, with no preservatives and corn syrup)
- 1.5 cups cheddar cheese (I used raw-milk cheddar, which is my favorite cheddar)
- On medium to medium high heat, heat some oil in a pot. Add the onions, some salt & pepper to taste and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
- At the same time, get a pot and boil some water for you pasta. Cook your elbow macaroni to al dente according to package directions.
- To the onions, add the ground beef and garlic at the same time and cook for about 7 minutes as the beef starts to brown. Mix in the sliced hot dogs and sauté for a minute longer.
- Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, and about 1 cup of your pasta water to the ground beef and let it come to boil. Let the sauce simmer until it has reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Season with some salt & pepper to taste.
- After the sauce has reduced, mix in the cheese and let it melt. It will have a thick consistency–molten, viscous and ready for the pasta. Mix in the cooked elbow macaroni. Done! Serve with some parmesan or romano cheese, if desired.
What makes this beef macaroni out-of-this-world is the tomato sauce to cheese ratio. It is about 1 part tomato (sauce + ketchup) to 1 part cheese. Or, better yet, a little bit more cheese would be good. While we were growing up, Mommy Bene would give us a really big container of this because we all couldn’t stop at just one plate. I think we all had at least seconds. It is that good! Addicting! A real comfort food. Even when I was a vegetarian and she sent us this macaroni, I would meticulously pick out the meat and let my vegetarian-self be a little lax and eat the noodles which were still bathed with sauce. Lol. It’s the type of dish that can make you smile, just the way that she did 🙂