Saturday, April 21, 2012

North Carolina Mac –n- Cheese

3 ingredients
WOW!  What a warm welcome you all gave me on my first post as my husband’s first guest blogger.  I enjoyed reading all your wonderful comments, thank you so much!  I haven’t had an opportunity to reply to all of your comments, I’m not a moderator on this blog just a guest so I don’t see them until he moderates them.

Today I am going to attempt to share a recipe for something that I don’t have an actual recipe for.  I don’t even have a real name for it but it’s something that my family likes to eat as a side dish mostly with grilled or BBQ chicken.  This is a dish that I first had while visiting family in North Carolina when I was in high school.  My step mother’s sister lived there and I would go stay with her some in the summer time.   She and I are pretty close in age and we had a lot of fun together and she had the most adorable little girl.  Both sides of her husband’s family had farms and that is where I first ate what I call “Carolina Mac and Cheese”.

Now mind you I knew Mac and Cheese as something you bought in a box with a package of cheese sauce or powder and was a bit taken aback when they introduced this version of one of my favorite foods.  This mac and cheese consisted of ziti type noodles with home canned tomatoes from the garden and mild cheddar cheese.  I wasn’t so sure I was going to like this dish as I have never been fond of tomatoes but the well mannered girl my mother “tried” to raise me to be, knew I had to eat it, pretend I liked it and compliment the cook.  Well I didn’t have to pretend I loved this strange version of mac and cheese, even the tomato part was good.

I have made this dish many times over since my visit to that Carolina farm where I also did what they call “getting up hay” for the first and last time in my life!  Getting or putting up hay whichever way you want to say it isn’t fun, its hard work and I had a new found respect for farmers.  For those of you who don’t know what getting up hay is, it’s when you go out to the fields and load all the hay bales onto the tractor.  Let’s just say I worked up a pretty healthy appetite!

Carolina Mac -n- Cheese

1 box of ziti pasta or any tubular pasta similar to that
1 quart size jar of canned tomatoes, drain off the juice (preferably home canned but you can sub 2 store bought cans of stewed tomatoes)
1 brick mild cheddar cheese shredded

Preheat oven to 350.
Boil your pasta according to package directions, drain and place in a (greased or sprayed) 9x13 casserole dish.  Make sure you drain off the juice of the tomatoes, if they are too large cut them smaller and stir into the pasta.  Spread the shredded cheddar over the pasta and tomatoes.  Bake for approx. 20 minutes, just long enough to get the tomatoes hot and melt the cheese; you don’t want the cheese to cook until it’s brown and hard.

"Yummy Goodness"
Keep in mind that you can adjust this recipe to your liking, adding more or less tomatoes and cheese would be fine.  My favorite foods to serve this with are, BBQ chicken on the grill, green beans (either home canned or fresh that have been cooked all day in bacon drippings, West Virginia style I like to call them) and homemade hot rolls. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Blessings to you from The Redeemed Gardener’s Wife, Dana Baker.

Linked with:
Teach Me Tuesday
Country Garden Showcase
Garden Party Farmhouse Friday
Thursdays Treasure Hunt
 Home and Garden Thursday
Farm Photo Friday
Saturday night Special


  1. As a native Tarheel I can vouch for this delicious recipe! YUM! YUM! I put stewed tomatoes in about everything from white rice to grits. I also love to put them on top of a plate of cooked dried baby lima beans and ham! Give this recipe a try! You won't be sorry!

    1. We will give it a try Lisa, thank you for the tips!

  2. Hello, This sounds quite delicious - I think some of the best recipes are the easiest! I'll definitely give it a try -- and Lisa sounds like a girl after my own heart ;)
    I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  3. Thanks so much for linking up....looks yummy!!

  4. Love the sounds of this recipe Dana! We make a New England Homemade Mac n cheese too.. I'll have to share it sometime too! Ours is minus the tomatoes, with a white cheese sauce with a buttered, crumbled ritz cracker topping...I think we all need to live on farms again to work up enough appetite to eat these yummy, filling dishes!

  5. I grew up on a cattle farm, and I remember when I used to help "put up the hay" - it was hard work! =)

    love the recipe!

  6. Yummy. Anything that says Cheese in the recipe is on my good for me list.

  7. Looks yummy! My boys love that stuff. Thanx for coming to THT!

  8. Looks like an interesting recipe. Thanks!

    A blessed Sunday to you both. ♥

  9. I was thinking about making mac and cheese today (I do the whole homemade thing starting with the roux), but this looks like it would be delicious, and I just happen to have some home canned tomatoes sitting in my cupboard...albeit the last jar...yum!

  10. Yummy! Cheese should be it's own food group. :)

  11. yumm-eeee. Looks good. Kind of crazy that there is no cream or mik in it, but I will try it! :) Thanks for posting.

  12. Wow this sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe; I think my family will LOVE it :)

  13. Yum! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try it. It looks fantastic. I LOVE tomatoes.

  14. Thank you everyone for your comments! There are so many ways to make Mac -n- cheese, and it's always fun to try an old favorite in a new way. Blessings to you all!

  15. Yum. I can't wait to try this. I wonder if boiling the pasta in the juice from the tomatoes might give it a bit more flavor... I'll let you know ;)