Macaroni & Cheese & Beef

Taste buds are a funny thing. Our taste buds can differentiate between 5 basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, savory and bitter. Not only do our taste buds change over time, they often decrease as we age. Sometimes we can even force a change.

My coworker, Jennifer once told me that if you eat something you don’t like eight times, you will begin to like it. 

“My Shirley loves asparagus but I hate it,” I replied, “Maybe I’ll give it a try.”  

“Uh, you might want to start with something not quite so strong as asparagus,” Jennifer suggested. 

While that experiment never made it to the lab, I know it is true that we can learn to like things we don’t already like. 

I remember in public school my mother would sometimes forget that I didn’t like onions and make me cheese and onion sandwiches for lunch. (They were one of Dad’s favourites.) I would remove the onion, but after sitting at room temperature in the classroom all morning, a hint of the onion flavour remained in the cheese. I learned to enjoy that and started to specifically ask my mother for cheese and onion sandwiches. I would continue to remove the onion at lunchtime and enjoy the subtle flavour of onion with my cheese sandwich. Eventually I just quit removing the onion altogether and now when My Shirley asks me what vegetable I want as a side dish with supper, my go to answer is “fried onions”. (Then she serves me corn, but that’s a story for another article.)

That’s also how I learned to like mustard and relish. When ordering a hamburger in a restaurant as a teen I would often forget to instruct the waitress to hold the mustard and relish. Once served, I would scrape it off, but the hint of the flavours left behind grew into a fondness for these condiments.

What surprised me most when My Shirley told me she didn't really care for my "Beef And Macaroni Soup" was that she described it as being too "tomatoey". My Shirley absolutely loves tomatoes and that just didn't make much sense to me.

So it surprised me just as much when My Shirley raved about how good this recipe was. They both contain a 28oz / 828 ml can of tomatoes! Not only that, this recipe also containes 1 1/2 cups of Salsa which My Shirley does NOT like. Can the slight variable of the rest of the ingredients make that much of a difference? Apparently so!

So even if, like My Shirley, you didn't care for my "Beef And Macaroni Soup" recipe, give this one a try.

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 6

Stuff Required:

  • 1½ lbs ground beef

  • 3 cups macaroni elbows, uncooked

  • 1½ cups milk

  • 1½ tbsp butter

  • 3 cups, cheddar cheese, shredded

  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

  • 1½ cups salsa

  • 28 oz tomatoes, canned, stewed

  • ¾ cup onion, chopped

  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning

Do This:

  1. In a large frying pan, cook the ground beef.

  2. While the ground beef is cooking combine macaroni, milk and butter in a large pot.

  3. Stir in 2 cups of water.

  4. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring frequently.

  5. Stir in cheddar and parmesan cheeses and continue cooking until melted.

  6. Add in meat, salsa, stewed tomatoes, onions and Italian Seasoning. 

  7. Stir until well mixed and heated through.

Tip: The macaroni may soak up most of the liquids if saved for leftovers. Add a bit of chicken or beef broth to your leftovers before reheating in either the microwave or the oven. 


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Published In The Great North Arrow, June 1, 2023: Do You Want Fries And Taxes With That?

Obituary: 173 Big Bay Point Road