Out of all the pasta dishes globally, our featured recipe is probably one of the most famous recipes to date. One can never deny that this creamy and hearty meal captured our hearts and palate even when we were still kids. That we always look forward to the weekend afternoons when our mothers would have this ready on the kitchen table after playtime.
American soldiers and teachers heavily influenced an American dish by origin, our Filipino’s appreciation for mac dishes during their stay in the country before the Japanese occupation of the 1940s. And since then, mac dishes frequently grace our kitchen table, especially for occasions and festivities which call for hearty meals.
So you might have a lot of queries going on inside that curious mind of yours. You might be telling yourself if you can pull this one, or if it’s too complicated. And I won’t blame you for that, because for the longest time, we thought that this decadent dish is a complicated recipe to perfect, but that’s where we are both mistaken.
Don’t worry because we got you covered. We have gathered the information that you might need to prepare the best No-Baked Macaroni to be a hit for your loved ones.
What Is No Bake Macaroni
No-Bake mac is originally a dish brought by Americans during the Philippines’ American occupation during the 1900s. The creamy and cheesy flavor of the dish might have been the hook and sinker that caught the curious palates of our forefathers.
However, if we are looking at history, this dish is of a different origin. In a 14th-century book named Liber de Coquina, pasta and cheese casserole was recorded in it. And the modern take of the recipe, which we are most familiar with today, dates back from 1784, in the recipe book The Experienced English Housekeeper.
But with the passing of time and modernization of kitchen equipment, ingredients, and techniques, many variations and improvements on the traditional recipe of our dish have been made. And to date, we can say that each country has their take on it, given the variety and abundance of different ingredients available in a particular country.
The dish’s components are relatively simple, cooked elbow mac drenched in a milky sauce that is sure to cause one’s mouth water with excitement. This is further accentuated with sprinkles of crispy bacon bits, which makes it even more delightful. This recipe that we know of today is the modern take on a classic recipe.
Most restaurants and cafes will always have macaroni in their menus, may it be the baked variant or the non-baked one. The good about this recipe is that it can go well with virtually any dishes and beverages. No wonder it has been a staple offering of fast foods, cafes, and restaurants ever since its rise to food stardom.
Ways To Cook
It may not sound very easy to prepare, but this no-baked mac is surprisingly easy to execute. You only need to follow the methods given carefully to be sure that you can replicate it. And because of that simplicity, there are few other ways that you can cook in your kitchen.
First, we have here some of the tried and recommended ways to prepare this hearty meal in the comforts of your kitchen.
To Cook in the Instant pot
Since its inception, Instant Pot has been a reliable kitchen appliance because of how easy and quick you can cook foods without much of the usual hassle. Most of the recipes that it can cook are now made more accessible by using the Instant Pot. So more often than not, the cooking process is now just press and go.
The same efficiency can be achieved when cooking this dish using the Instant Pot. Following the same steps indicated in the recipe is what you need to do and once you’re done following those steps, let the Instant Pot do its magic.
The instant pot uses pressure to cook dishes, cutting the cooking time by almost in half, making it a suitable kitchen companion for people who are always on the go and do not have the leisure of waiting for an extended period of cooking.
To Cook in the pressure cooker
Who says pressure cookers can only be used for simmering those extra tough meats to tenderize them? If you have that conception about this heavy-duty cookware, then I believe you are mistaken, my friend, because pressure cookers can also be used to create rich and milky dishes like our menu.
If you are an avid home cook, most probably, you will have a pressure cooker at home, which I believe you’re using to tenderize meats to cut the cooking time. And believe us that you can use that to cook our menu.
Make sure to have your choice of macaroni pre-cooked to cut the cooking even further. Then saute the ingredients as indicated, and once they are cooked adequately, that’s when you cover the pressure cooker and allow it to do its thing.
The pressure build-up inside the cooker causes the ingredients to cook faster than the usual cooking method. This method is highly recommended, especially when cooking big batches of food that require quick cooking.
To Cook in the Skillet
This is an old-fashioned method of cooking macaroni. One does not have an oven to have those crispy and slightly burnt cheese edges as the skillet can also do the same. Talk about versatile cookware, huh?
The process for cooking this menu using a skillet is pretty much the same. Make sure to have your macaroni cooked ahead to save time. And have your ingredients ready for sauteing. And to achieve that milky texture, be sure to whisk the mixture thoroughly. Then proceed with the steps as indicated in our recipe.
The skillet can be used for many cooking types, ranging from steaks, noodles, and even desserts due to its ability to maintain heat better than ordinary cooking pots. And because it is cast iron, it can also distribute heat evenly across its surface, ensuring that all the ingredients are cooked adequately.
To Cook in the Clay Pot
Yes, you read that correctly, cooking this dish using the good, old, and reliable clay pot that our grandmothers used for cooking those memorable Sunday afternoon feasts. And yes, they are not limited to just broth and soups as they can also be used to cook this milky and rich noodles recipe.
With this method, the steps are pretty simple. The ingredients are still the same and as well as the procedures. Just be sure that the macaroni is pre-cooked to lessen the cooking time.
Throw in the ingredients in order, as indicated in the recipe. Do not worry about cracking the pot as they have been resilient and can withstand high temperatures. And the rustic vibes that it gives to the dish adds additional charm to the recipe.
To Cook in the Marinara
Since our recipe is still a noodles dish, we can use any pasta sauces you can think of. One of the most well-known sauces is the Marinara, a tomato-based sauce with traditional herbs and spices such as garlic, onions, parsley, and a dash of wine.
Pasta, as we all know, is an iconic Italian offering. And our recipe has its roots in the Italian culinary repertoire. That is why to honor its origins, we have included the Marinara variant in this list. It will be up to you what ingredients you prefer included in this recipe.
A lot of benefits can be derived from this recipe. This antioxidant powerhouse is also known to help the body fight against free radicals’ harmful effects, starting with tomatoes. It is also laden with Vitamin A and C that boosts the immune system.
And it is hard to deny that tomato-based dishes are flavorful and savory: thanks to the natural umami taste present in tomatoes that gives tomato-based dishes that irresistible flavor.
To Cook in the Slow Cooker
For folks who have much time to spend cooking in the kitchen and don’t mind waiting for a few hours waiting for their food to cook, this variant is the right fit. The slow cooker is as evident as its name suggests: cooking food for an extended period at a steady temperature.
If you ask me the benefits of cooking using a slow cooker, let me begin by saying that slow-cooked food guarantees that flavors are fully absorbed and saturated in every fiber of the ingredients. And because of the slow-cooking method, you are assured that the ingredients are fully cooked.
Pre-cook the mac to cut some cooking time but do not overcook them: cooking them just before reaching that al dente texture. The slow cooker would complete the cooking process for you. Next, put the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook them all together for about an hour or two on high temp or whatever the maximum setting your slow cooker has.
This method is recommended for big batches of cooking and folks who have many things to do at home. It doesn’t need much supervision while cooking because the slow cooker will do it for you, and it will stop cooking once it reaches the timer.
Other Delicious Variants and Recipes
Variety is what causes a recipe appealing. The characteristic of a recipe to be modified and adapted to a specific demographic of people is what can make it classic. The same thing can be said to No-Baked Mac as it can be cooked in multiple ways depending on one’s preference.
To give you a headstart, we have provided you with some variants that you can try to cook at home and see which one can do it to your culinary arsenal. Who knows, you might even be able to come up with your version of it.
Macaroni and cheese with white sauce Recipe
As it is formally called in the kitchen, white sauce or bechamel sauce is a fitting partner for noodles, especially for noodles that use cream-based sauces. It is without a doubt that white sauce can be used as a variant for our recipe.
Bechamel sauce or commonly called white sauce, is a sauce that originated in Italy and then later was made famous in France, is a mixture of milk and white roux that is cooked until a cream-like consistency is achieved. It is treated as one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, meaning it is a base sauce for various sauces used in French recipes.
Make the white sauce, make a roux of flour and butter while slowly adding milk until there are no lumps in the mixture. Do this at a low temperature to make sure that you do not burn the mixture. This is what’s going to thicken the sauce.
Once the mixture is thickened to your desired consistency, slowly add in your choice of spices, milk, and cream. Ground beef and tomatoes are the perfect ingredients for this sauce as they do not overpower each other. This milky and savory variant will be a sure hit not just for kids but also for adults.
With Chicken and Bacon Recipes
This variant is suggested for people who want to try different meat to their noodles. More often than not, the recipes that you can find for mac and cheeses use either ground pork and beef for their main ingredients. But for a healthier choice, shredded chicken meat can also be used as a substitute.
The procedure for cooking this variant is pretty much the same as the original, but the most significant difference will be the meats and hot dogs’ omission as the shredded chicken will replace them. You can also discard the spaghetti sauce and add another cheese variant of your choice.
Chicken meat contains less cholesterol and saturated fat than the original recipe’s usual pork and beef components. You are making it more beneficial for your cardiovascular health.
This variant can also fall under keto-approved dishes as it heavily relies on protein like chicken and bacon. You only need to replace the milk and butter with variants that are keto-approved.
Macaroni and Cheese With Mushroom Recipes
With the advent of healthier food choices available in the market, more and more people are switching to no-meat diets. Before, going meatless also means forgoing the taste of meats for bland tasting meat alternatives. But thanks to technology and research, there is now a multitude of options to choose from.
One of the classic choices for meat replacement is mushrooms. And to date, there are tons of mushroom varieties to choose from. And each contains a different flavor than the others. For this recipe, the mushroom variant that you can use is definitely up to your preference.
The first choice that you must try is the classic button mushroom. But instead of the canned variety, we suggest that you use the fresh ones as they contain more robust flavor. The texture of the fresh mushrooms is also better than the canned varieties, as the latter is soaked in liquid longer, which affects its texture.
Another viable option is the oyster mushroom, as it contains a milder taste. And nowadays, procuring different mushroom varieties is no longer a tough job since many people are now into growing mushrooms indoors.
Cooking mushroom as a meat replacement for this menu is the same as indicated in the recipes. The only significant difference is the time it takes to cook since mushrooms cook faster than meat. Just follow the method in the recipes, and you’re good to go.
Mushrooms are inherently rich in antioxidants that protect the body from cancer-producing free radicals and boost your immune system. And since its plant-based meat alternative has zero fat content, which is a plus factor for folks on a diet.
Keto approved diets consist of low carbohydrates and dependent on fats and proteins found in foods for their bodily energy source. And this kind of diet is rapidly gaining popularity, and many recipes call for modifications that suit the keto-approved diets.
And since our recipes initially use a mac, which is heavy in carbohydrates because it is made from flour, we tried looking for an alternative. And with that purpose in mind, we have found out that cauliflower can be a suitable alternative. That is why we turn up with this keto-approved variant for folks who are on the quest to switch to this kind of healthy lifestyle.
Few modifications to the recipes are to be made, such as switching to unsalted butter and the milk to almond milk. These changes are necessary for it to pass the keto-approved standards for food. However, the cooking process for the recipe is the same. The significant difference is the changes stated for the milk and butter.
We did our best to ensure that each diet preference is covered and made the necessary adjustments to suit each. This ensures that we can help the reader’s different needs and home cooks looking for recipes that fit their needs and lifestyle choices.
Food trivia is always fun to read: not only does it add up to our knowledge, but it also makes us appreciate the food we’re eating even more. To add to the delight of eating our No-Baked Mac, we researched facts and trivia about this all-time favorite noodles recipe.
Did you know that currently the Great Depression in America, this recipe became a staple offering for starving families because of its low costing ingredients? Talk about a lifesaver.
And the word macaroni as we know it today is a corruption of the Italian word maccheroni, which came from the Latin word macerare that means to crush or bruise. This came from the process of how the wheat flour used for making macaroni is made.
Out of all the noodles variants available in the market, elbow mac is the preferred type. The mac’s shape makes it the perfect noodles that hold the sauce better than the other variants.
Ah, kitchen mishaps, who amongst us have not encountered even one of them. And indeed it can make us reach our wit’s end and make us lose our cool. But at times, it is unavailable; on the other hand, these failures make us better home cooks and, ironically, sharpen our cooking skills.
To help you become better home cooks, we want to share a few troubleshooting steps that you can take. Apply should you encounter kitchen mishaps.
- If the elbow mac became soggy even before adding it into the sauce, we have a tip just for that scenario. Put the cooked elbow mac in a strainer and immerse them in ice-cold water to regain its tender texture and stop the cooking process.
- If the sauce is too creamy and rich and is overpowering the whole dish, adding a drop of lemon or lime will do the trick.
Knowing some tried and tested cooking tips, even before cooking, can help you achieve a better-tasting final output of your dish. And that will also help you avoid kitchen mishaps in advance. So we have some time-tested tips that can help you become a better home cook and hero of your kitchen.
- Instead of water, cooking the macaroni in milk helps thicken the sauce even before adding cream and cheese.
- To give the milky and rich sauce an additional layer of flavor, a sprinkle of cayenne powder will give the sauce that extra kick. A few drops of hot sauce can also do the trick.
- If you’re hesitant to use the first tip and still want to achieve a thicker sauce, don’t dump the water you used to cook the macaroni. The starch of the macaroni mixed in the water can help thicken the sauce better.
- Add salt into the water when boiling the elbow mac to avoid making it taste bland.
- Top off the finished product with crispy bacon bits to up the ante of the flavor.
Best Served With
In the United States, it’s a norm for them to eat our menu on its own. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, Filipinos prefer to eat dishes in pairs. We don’t want to waste such an opportunity of appreciating foods better by partnering them with suitable dishes. So to give some idea, we have here dishes that are perfect with our featured recipes.
The sweet and slightly sharp flavor of the chicken hamonado, due to the pineapple juice present on the sauce, compliments the macaroni’s rich and milky taste. The zesty taste also cuts down on the richness of the noodles dish, making it more palatable.
The heat and kick coming from the finger chilies cleanse the palate of the pasta sauce’s creaminess. And the contrasting textures of the dishes cause them to go well with each other.
For a superb breakfast combo, why not pair our menu with a few slices of flavorful and slightly toasted garlic bread. The aroma of the garlic bread makes you want to chase it down with the milky and decadent macaroni.
- Wine (preferably white)
You’re feeling a little extravagant and want to experience what it feels like to eat like an Italian, why not pair our macaroni with a glass of chilled wine. White wine goes well with cheese, and our recipes are oozing with cheese flavor. Could you find an even more perfect pair than this?
Seafood and cheese are like a match made in the kitchen of heaven. The natural sweetness of the shrimp meat goes well with the salty and creamy taste of the macaroni. Also, the crunch coming from the veggies in the salad is in contrast with the tender macaroni.
If you have come to this part of this article, then by now, we are confident that you can learn the essential skills and knowledge that you need to have to create these classic pasta recipes. And we’re sure that once you get the hang of it, you will be able to develop your version of our best No-Baked Mac.
With these tips and techniques in mind, continue to cook and learn and never stop widening your culinary arsenal. So till next time, happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
- 1 lb Macaroni Noodles
- 1 1/2 cup Spaghetti Sauce
- 1/2 cup Catsup
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 cup Cheese grated
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper crushed
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Nestle Cream
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 8 cups Water
- 1 cup Ground Pork
- 1 cup Hotdog sliced thinly
- 4 cloves Garlic smashed
- 1 big Onion minced
- Boil 6 cups of water and add 1 tbsp cooking oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Once boiling, add the macaroni, stirring for 5mins first. Simmer on low heat and cook for 25 mins.
- Once the macaroni is cooked, strain it and add a little butter and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Put the garlic until brown, followed by onion. Mix well.
- Put the ground pork in place. Mix well until the meat turns brown. Boil for 10 mins in a medium heat.
- Add 1/2 cup of water. Boil and season with spaghetti sauce, catsup, 1/2 tsp pepper, salt and sugar. Boil it for 5 mins.
- Slowly add the macaroni. Mix well. Strain and place in a wide container. Set aside.
- Boil the cream, melt the butter, when it is dissolved lower the heat. Slowly add the flour while mixing, gradually add the water and Nestle cream.
- Put the remaining salt and pepper, mixing well to prevent it from sticking.
- Place half of the grated cheese well.
- Pour over the macaroni, spread on top and spread the remaining cheese over the macaroni. Serve hot.