For this year’s All Saints’ Day, I decided to make baked macaroni and chicken sandwich.
Part of Filipino tradition is to visit departed loved ones at the cemetery on the 1st day of November (although November 2 is the actual All Souls’ Day, more people are visiting on the first day). All Saints day or “Undas” is an official Holiday here. Pre-All Saints’ Day preparation includes buying candles and flowers for offerings. On the day itself, you light up those candles, offer a little prayer and stay put to watch over it. Yes, some will even stay almost the whole day. That’s why, you’d often see people setting up tents (if they don’t have mausoleums) and bringing food with them.
This year, we opted to have orchids for flowers. We also bought some red roses. I baked some macaroni and prepared chicken sandwich for snack. We also have some chips and drinks. We spend half of our day in the cemetery. The kids, as always, enjoy collecting candle drippings. Most kids would sell it for 10 pesos a kilo, I think. My nephew and nieces on the other hand just want to play with the candles. It’s sort of a rite of passage for young kids, lol, you have to experience collecting candle drippings as a child! Of course they knew they get to do that only on All Saints ’ Day.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
800 grams of macaroni noodles
1 cup of coarsely grated cheese
For the meat sauce:
Cooking oil for sautéing
Onion and garlic, diced
1 kilo of ground pork (or beef)
1 pack of bacon (usually about half a pound), cut across into small pieces
2 cans of button mushroom, diced or sliced thinly
1 kilo tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
For the white sauce (béchamel sauce):
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 cans of evaporated milk
2 cans of all purpose cream
Salt and pepper
‘Dish’ is how I do it:
Cook the macaroni noodles according to package instruction. While it is simmering away, you can prepare the meat and the white sauce.
In a large skillet or pot, I sauté onion and garlic in oil, then add the ground meat and let it simmer until it sweats all the fats. You may scoop some of the fats if you want. I prefer to just leave it on, for flavor. I then add the bacon and let it simmer for about 3 more minutes. Add the mushroom as soon as the bacon cooks, stir and let it simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper. (Take it easy on the salt, bacon is salty already). Let it gently boils, occasionally stirring, for 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
I melt the butter in a large skillet. Then I slowly add the flour while briskly stirring. You have to keep on stirring to keep it from burning and to make sure there are no lumps in there. I’d say for about 3-4 minutes. Then slowly add the milk and all purpose cream, while stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper, I prefer mine with lots of pepper.
I combine the meat sauce with half of the white sauce with the macaroni noodles. I mix it well. I then lay it out in separate microwavable pans (about an inch to one inch and a half) and then top it with the remaining white sauce and grated cheese.
I bake it for about 30 minutes in an oven toaster at 250 degrees. Or until the cheese on top browns equally, it’s really up to you how brown you’d want it to be.
Let it rest for about 10 minutes and then it’s ready to serve. Chow!