Thursday, June 14

Kid friendly stash-meal: Pinoy baked macaroni

If I told you I put banana in my macaroni would you think I was crazy?  Probably.  When I was in the Philippines this was everywhere and whilst I would not recommend eating spaghetti from Jollibee - the Filipino (or Pinoy as locally known) equivalent of McDonalds I would recommend trying the local spaghetti or baked macaroni.  It's a little on the sweet side but I think if cooked the right way and not overdone it's really, really delicious.

What made me change my mind - was one day a colleague's mother sent in some homemade baked spaghetti for us to share as she worried about all the long hours we were working and wanted us to have something homemade.  My kind of woman and how could I refuse a meal like that?  Well it was delicious and I begged for the recipe.. but have grown impatient and went to find it myself.

I was expecting to see a bunch of sugar in there but the sweet taste is actually the banana ketchup.  I promise making the banana ketchup is not a wasted exercise because not only is it yummy on sausages but it's a key ingredient in this macaroni and well worth your effort.  But if you're time poor it's cheap as chips from here.

Makes 2 meals
1 onion, pureed
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
500g beef mince
1 cup beef stock
420g tin peeled tomatoes, pureed

Cheese sauce
100g butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
250g cream cheese
1 cup grated tasty cheese

Have your blender or thermomix on standby, you're going to use it with this recipe - it really helps the texture..

So put your pureed onion and garlic into a hot well oiled pan and throw in your mince, brown nicely.

At the same time put a pot on to boil water and when it's boiling, add 2 cups macaroni.

When your mince is browned add your beef stock, pureed tomato and banana ketchup, turn on to a simmer for 10 minutes, by then your macaroni should be cooked.

Pour in your macaroni and give a good stir.  Simmer for another 5 minutes before you transfer your mince and macaroni into some baking dishes.

You can smell a slight sweetness and you might be tempted to eat it like this but keep going... place your baking dishes on baking trays to make transferring to the oven easier - so preheat that oven to 200 degrees c.

Make some cheese sauce by melting butter in a saucepan, adding the cream cheese until it's melted in and then add the flour, keep stirring and gradually add the milk and then lastly turn the hob right down and add the cheese and stir for another minute until it's melted in.

(I cheated by doing mine in the thermomix - all ingredients except the tasty cheese for 7 minutes at 80 degrees on speed 3 - throw in the cheese for another 3 minutes same speed/temp).

Pour over your macaroni and beef.

Lovely!  Now transfer to the oven for about 25-30 minutes until you get a light golden brown on top.

Serve one, stash one!

Let it completely cool before wrapping - my tip is a piece of greaseproof paper on top of the cheese and then wrap all of it in tin foil and then lastly in glad wrap.    That will make sure that the lovely top layer won't peel off when you defrost and reheat.


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