Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

Coming from a cheese-loving family, macaroni and cheese is by far our favorite comfort food. We actually love all pasta dishes as long as they have cheese in them. I have tried many variations of this recipe including macaroni and cheese with mince, with eggs, with bacon, and with only vegetables.

Macaroni and Cheese Origins

The Macaroni and Cheese recipe’s ultimate origins are Italian Pasta and were recorded in the 14th-century Italian cookbook, Liber de Coquina, which featured a dish of parmesan cheese and pasta. Since then, there have been many variations of the dish adapted all over the world including Africa.

I got this classic recipe from my mother who got it from her mother who got it from her employer when she worked as a maid. It’s perfectly cheesy and caters for my picky eater 12 year old son, my meat loving Mom and of course my cheese loving self.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian, South African
Keyword: budget-friendly, cheesy, delicious, macaroni and cheese
Servings: 4 people


  • Caserole dish
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Medium pot


  • 300 g Macaroni pasta
  • Sea salt
  • paprika
  • 150 g diced/minced bacon fried
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 5 strings shallots minced
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced or puree`
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • cheddar cheese grated


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • In a medium pot, pour the water, 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and add several pinches of salt. Put the burner to high and bring the water to a boil. Add the dry elbow macaroni pasta. Using a fork, stir the pasta so it doesn't clump together as it cooks. Stir the pasta occasionally and let it cook until it's al dente. This should take at least 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pasta from heat and drain the boiling water. I rinse the pasta with cold water to stop it from overcooking, then toss it in a casserole dish greased with butter. Pour over the pasta your favorite cheese sauce or roux, stir until the pasta is fully coated, and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until it all starts to soften. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in a pinch of sugar, paprika, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is soft. 
  • Pour the tomato and onion relish over the pasta, layer with diced/minced bacon and top it all with grated cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until it starts to brown and serve while still warm.


You can choose to bake this dish in individual ramekins to avoid sharing or you can make it in a casserole dish as previously mentioned.
macaroni and cheese

I really love this recipe because it is a people pleaser and easy to make. You can opt to make it stovetop and skip the baking step. You can just serve after layering everything since all the ingredients have been cooked. If you would like to know how I made my cheese sauce please check out my creamy broccoli and cauliflower recipe in the Food section of this blog.


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