In our family there is that one dish that everyone expects to have every holiday. It doesn’t matter if it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday; this dish must be there!
We are real creative in our family (not so much), so the name we gave this dish really shows off our creativity: Macaroni & Cheese and Tomato Juice.
I’m sure most of you have had macaroni & cheese before, or even some version of it with a red sauce of some kind, but this dish….I don’t know what it is about it, but everyone in our family loves it and it is a MUST on any holiday table.
When my husband first came into our family, he thought we were a little strange having this unusual dish at holiday celebrations, but it really wouldn’t be the same without it.
The great thing about this recipe, is that is it so easy to make! All you have to do is basically boil some noodles, add cheese, bacon, and tomato juice, and you are good to go!
Macaroni & Cheese and Tomato Juice – Baked in handi-foil Pans
The first thing you need to do is fry up some bacon. Yep, it has bacon…need I say more?
I used about 1/2 a pound. You can use more or less, depending on how big of a bacon fan you are.
While you are frying up the bacon, get your water going so it is at a full boil.
The pasta doesn’t take long to cook because you want it to be al-dente, but this is the perfect time to get the water going so you aren’t waiting around for it later.
Once the water is at a nice rolling boil, add the pasta. I always use medium shells for this dish; I think they just work the best for capturing all of the sauce and cheese!
When the bacon is done, transfer it to a paper towel lined plate to cool and to drain off some of the grease.
While the bacon is cooling and the pasta is cooking, take the opportunity to cube your cheese. Usually I use a mild cheddar or a colby, but we have been on a mozzarella kick lately, so that is what we had in the house, and that is what I used this time. I think any cheese that is your favorite will work, as long as it is a good melting cheese and not too crumbly.
Be sure to check your pasta periodically so you don’t overcook it, or just set a timer so you don’t forget. I am on the forgetful side so if I have a dish that requires multiple things going on at once, I set a timer.
Once the cheese is cubed and the pasta drained, it is time to dice your bacon. Just cut it up into small chunks, the size doesn’t really matter, whatever you are comfortable with.
Now that you have all of your ingredients prepared, it is time to bring this dish together.
For a holiday meal, it is a great idea to use handi-foil pans for baking and/or serving because they are really easy to clean-up afterward. You can choose to clean the pans like any other dish, or if you are looking for a quick clean-up, just rinse and recycle since they are made out of recyclable aluminum!
Simply add the pasta to the pan, then mix in the cheese and bacon.
The next step is just to add the tomato juice. We are very particular in our family and will only use one brand of tomato juice, Sacramento.
We’ve tried other brands, but the flavor is just not the same! You can choose to use whatever brand you like, but I’m telling you, the Sacramento does the trick!
Add the whole can.
Dripping some juice on the side of the pan is optional, but really gives it that homemade feel 😀
At this point just salt and pepper to taste, then throw in the oven until the cheese is melted and the juice is warmed all the way through. If you will be serving the dish soon, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. If you are making this dish for later, bake at 225 degrees for 1 – 1/2 hours.
If you choose the longer baking time, be sure to stir the dish once or twice during baking so the noodles on top don’t dry out. I opted for the longer baking time because I was making this mid afternoon and serving it for dinner.
One of the nice things about using the handi-foil pans to bake with, is that you can not only serve the dish right from the same pan, but you can also store it or send it home with someone too! The pans have great fitting plastic lids that work really well for this!
Handi-Foil pans are great for more than just baking!
Some of my favorite pans are the holiday themed ones that you can use to bake, store, and give as treat filled gifts!
This year my kids helped me make some cookies for our annual town bake sale. The handi-foil storage containers with snowman lids worked out perfectly for storing the cookies until the sale. They will also be the perfect size for selling a batch of cookies!
You can check out more great meal ideas on this Pinterest page: Christmas Ideas
Disclosure: The Mommy Bunch received a free product and compensation to facilitate this post, all opinions and recipes are our own.