Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Magic of Mama's Kitchen

Is it just me, or does the food your mom made as a kid seem magical? Anytime I eat something my mom makes I’m instantly transported to a time when I sat around her kitchen table and my feet didn’t quite touch the floor. When boo-boos were kissed and tears were wiped away around a table where love, not just food, was served.
My mom is an amazing cook. There are MANY nights when I say a silent prayer that God will throw me half the culinary talent she has (and those are the nights her phone rings to me on the other line asking if the casserole should really look like that? Bless her.) And she still knows how to serve love on a plate. One of my most cherished recipes from my childhood may sound a little odd to some, but it is utterly delicious. It was the first thing I learned to master when I moved away to college and to this day when I take my very first bite I am instantly reminded of snow days at home sitting in front of a steaming bowl and feeling inexorably happy. Yes, I’m talking about macaroni and tomatoes.
If you’re reading this and thinking I’m crazy, bear with me. I promise that this dish, while a seemingly strange combination to some, is both delicious and easy to make. Its comfort food the way God intended it.
To make this, you’ll need the following:

Start by boiling your macaroni until its tender. I add a dash of salt to my boiling water for flavor. I use a 16 oz box (or in this case, half of a 32 oz box).

Once its cooked, make sure to drain your macaroni well and give it just a minute to cool. You’ll want it to be warm when you eat it, but it can’t be too hot or the milk will curdle.

Pour your macaroni back into the pot and stir in your butter. I use about 2 tbsp, but you just want enough to coat all the macaroni once it melts.

Then you add in your tomatoes. I used two 14.5 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes.

Mix it well. I was trying to use up what was left of my box of macaroni, so you will should have a slightly greater tomato to macaroni ratio that I have here:

Then you pour in your milk. Just pour until you get a light red “sauce”and give it one last final mixing. Salt to taste.

It’s a delicious stand-alone dish or with some cheese toast or crackers on the side. And of course, sweet tea is the perfect compliment.

It also makes great leftovers the next day. I love nothing more than making a batch to take for lunch at work the next day! It’s a tradition I’m hoping to pass along to my own kids. So far it seems to be working:

While it’s not the most impressive thing my mom cooks (by far!) it’s still one of my favorites.
Thanks, Mom!

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