Dinner/ Foods of the World/ Side Dishes/ Southern Recipes/ Uncategorized

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

February 24, 2021 (Last Updated: March 6, 2021)

Deliciously simple to make Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes is an iconic dish many Southern folks still remember and cherish from their childhoods. 

Depending on what part of the South you are from, there are a few variations. Yet, each starts with the same ingredients. Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes were made with elbow macaroni, stewed tomatoes, bacon grease, and a little seasoning.

 

 

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

One of the many things I love about Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes is that it has to be one of the most accessible comfort foods to make. It takes little to no time to cook and serve. This dish is so economical and perfect for potlucks and family gatherings. Chances are, if you grew up in any of the Southern or have even resided in the South for some time, you are familiar with this budget-friendly dish we call Macaroni and Tomatoes. 

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes should Not be confused with American Chop-Soyaka American Ghoulash, which are in whole other category that usually is confused for Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes.  Yet contain ground beef, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and seasoned herbs, which are apples compared to oranges when it comes to this particular recipe.

 

“Real cooking is more about following your heart than following recipes.”
– Unknown

 

Southern Macaroni and TomatoesOver the years, my mother and I have changed a few things with the recipe to make other delicious variations. However, we like our recipes at an interpretation,  not a full-on bastardizing of the recipe and calling it something it’s not. I think it’s essential to preserve the integrity of recipes. Slight variations are creative when cooking, not intrusive.

When my Grandmother used to make her recipe for Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes, it was as simple as her boiling salted water, adding macaroni noodles, draining them (never did she rinse them), then adding her own homemade canned stewed tomatoes, a little bacon grease, table salt, and lots of black pepper. She never added sugar to her tomatoes as the canned stewed tomatoes were lovely enough without adding the sugar.

 

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
– Thomas Keller

 

 

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

 

 

Family Variations of Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

My mom used to make it more of a casserole-style, layering elbow macaroni, stewed tomatoes, mild cheddar cheese, which was delicious tasting. Or she would make it as plain as all get-up just like my Grandmother.
When I make my Southern Tomatoes and Macaroni, I want it more traditional-style. I use the large elbow macaroni cooked in salted water, Stewed organic tomatoes, fried bacon bits, bacon grease, onions, and a touch of freshly chopped parsley. Then season it with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. ( I never add sugar to my tomatoes either, they are sweet enough)
You can also do a spicy variation of Macaroni and Tomates as my sister-in-law does. By replacing the stewed tomatoes with Ro*Tel tomatoes, using unsalted butter, adding Cajun seasoning, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and black pepper to the recipe. Just be sure not to overdo the spices if you have children joining in on the meal.

 

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne

 

 

Southern Macaroni and TomatoesNote: I have also heard of a few people adding ground beef, smoked sausage, green peppers, sugar to the tomatoes, and some parmesan cheese on the top. Still, I prefer mine more traditional and to the point compared to the other variations. I guess it’s because it just isn’t Southern Tomatoes and Macaroni anymore after adding all these additional items to the recipe. That’s where the confusion begins with some.

 

Let’s address the other elephant in the room.

Adding sugar to the recipe. Suppose you are using good quality organic canned stewed tomatoes or homemade canned stewed tomatoes. In that case, sugar isn’t necessary unless you have bitter, acidic tomatoes or a sweet tooth. You can feel free to add it but do so a little at a time.

 

 

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

 

 

Recommended Equipment For Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

Can opener– to open canned tomatoes
Cutting board– to chop parsley and onions on
Sharp kitchen knife- to chop parsley and onions.
Large saucepan – to cook  bacon, onions, and elbow macaroni
Medium saucepan – to cook/ heat tomatoes
Slotted spatula– to remove bacon from pan
Wooden spoon- to stir tomatoes
Serving dish-  (Optional) to place Southern Macaroni and tomatoes
Serving spoon- (Optional) to serve the Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

 

 

Grocery List for Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

  • Bacon, thick-cut
  • Yellow onion
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Stewed tomatoes, organic preferred
  • Parsley, fresh
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper

 

 

 

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

hmccallum
Deliciously simple to make Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes is an iconic dish many Southern folks still remember and cherish from their childhoods. 
4.93 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
0 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 397 kcal

Equipment

  • Can opener– to open canned tomatoes
  • Cutting board– to chop cooked bacon, parsley, and onions on
  • Sharp kitchen knife- to chop parsley and onions
  • Large saucepan – to cook  bacon, onions, and elbow macaroni
  • Medium saucepan – to cook/ heat tomatoes
  • Slotted spatula– to remove bacon from pan
  • Wooden spoon- to stir tomatoes
  • Serving dish-  (Optional) to place Southern Macaroni and tomatoes
  • Serving spoon- (Optional) to serve the Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes

Ingredients
  

  • ½ pound bacon thick-slicked, cooked crisp, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon grease may sub with butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 4-14.5- ounces stewed tomatoes organic, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped *optional*
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • coarse black pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon sugar +more if desired

Instructions
 

  • Gather all suggested equipment and ingredients before beginning the recipe.
  • Fry the thick-sliced bacon until it is very crispy but not burned. Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon—Reserve three tablespoons of the bacon drippings to cook the yellow onions. Once onions are cooked-Reserve again
  • On a cutting board, dice onions, chop fresh parsley, and cooled crisp bacon- reserve until needed.
  • Meanwhile, boil the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions for the al dente method.
  • While the Macaroni is boiling, open the cans of organic stewed tomatoes and dump them juice and all in the medium saucepan to heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Once the Macaroni is done, drain immediately, do not rinse. Add the Macaroni, chopped bacon, onions with bacon drippings, parsley, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to the saucepan with the heated tomatoes. Combine the ingredients thoroughly.
  • Serve while still hot.

Notes

If you are looking for a few variations of this Souther Macaroni and Tomatoes or tips, tricks, hints please read the blog post for additional information.
 
Although themccallumsshamrockpatch.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and how ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will themccallumsshamrockpatch.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from your reliance on nutritional information.
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 4gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 108mgPotassium: 80mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 243IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 14mg
Keyword Macaroni and Tomatoes, Tomatoes and Macaroni
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this recipe for Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes, here are some more suggestions you may want to try.

  •  Chicken Bacon Spinach Pasta  is tossed in a thick and creamy roasted garlic Parmesan sauce. It’s a perfect combination of flavors and textures that will have you thinking that your eating at one of your favorite restaurants! 
  • Southern Meat Sauce has been floating around for years; a thick, rich, hearty, and filled to the brim with sweet organic tomatoes, peppers, and onions that lends the perfect layer of flavor to any pasta you choose.
  • American Goulash, aka American Chop Suey, aka Beef and Macaroni, has simple, economical, filling ingredients. Such as lean ground beef, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and seasoned with herbs that are reasonably family-friendly and super simple to find at any market or local grocer.

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Tonya
    March 9, 2021 at 8:50 am

    Just like mine and my momma make. The only addition we add bell pepper.
    Mom being from southern KY, always made it this way.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      March 9, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      Hey there Tonya! Good afternoon! I’m so glad you shared! About her, Macaroni and Tomatoes were awesome! A little pepper adds a lot of flavors. I love green peppers, but sometimes they don’t like me, lol!

  • Reply
    Jo
    March 8, 2021 at 2:16 am

    I make a version similar to this with onion, tomato, and garlic. I’m glad we got to try this Southern version of mac with tomatoes the other day. It was so easy to make and delicious! My kids loved it.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      March 9, 2021 at 6:43 am

      Good morning Jo, and thank you for sharing. If you notice the recipe card, I also add onions, of course, tomatoes, but do not add garlic. I bet yours is wonderful too. Do you use sugar? I do not because the tomatoes I buy are wonderful and never require sugar. I guess that’s where the Italian line of our Southern family emerges. Thank you for sharing your version.
      Have a blessed day!

  • Reply
    Addison
    March 7, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    This was such a great recipe! I can totally see Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes for an easy dinner or even potlucks.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      March 9, 2021 at 6:44 am

      Good morning Addison! This recipe flies off the table at potlucks. We Southerners seem to love it!! Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    March 7, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Anyone that grew up in the South has had macaroni and tomatoes. We used to eat it all the time when we were children. It is comfort food. I have never put bacon in mine before trying your recipe, and this was a wonderful addition. I mean bacon=love lol .

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      March 9, 2021 at 7:00 am

      That is so true, Debbie, and depending on where in the south your kin is from. There are several variations of this recipe.

      When my Grandmother used to make her recipe for Southern Macaroni and Tomatoes, it was as simple as her boiling salted water, adding macaroni noodles, draining them (never did she rinse them), then adding her own homemade canned stewed tomatoes, a little bacon grease, table salt, and lots of black pepper. She never added sugar to her tomatoes as the canned stewed tomatoes were lovely enough without adding the sugar.

      My mom, however, used to make it more of a casserole-style, layering elbow macaroni, stewed tomatoes, mild cheddar cheese, and baking it until the cheese melted, which was delicious tasting. Or she would make it as plain as all get-up just like my Grandmother.

      My sister-in-law makes it by replacing the stewed tomatoes with Ro*Tel tomatoes, using unsalted butter, adding Cajun seasoning, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and black pepper to the recipe. Just be sure not to overdo the spices if you have children joining in on the meal.

      All the variations are yummy, and I enjoy them! Thank you, and have a beautiful day.

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