Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes – Grandma’s Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe

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Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate grandma’s macaroni with tomatoes recipe.

I spent the weekend at the famous Maryann’s house this weekend.  I always look forward to these visits because they involve a trip to the local winery, a grocery pit stop to Harvest Moon which has tons of bulk foods and Amish foods, and last but not least, menu planning.

Maryann and I literally sit around the whole weekend talking about food. She pulls out her favorite recipes and cookbooks, and I send her my favorite kid-friendly weeknight meals and menus. It is delightful. We are two peas in a pod, brought together by a set of husbands who are forever college friends.

My favorite cook book from Maryann’s house is the cumulation of her Grandmother’s favorite recipes.  I go through it every visit, and something new jumps out at me every single time.

Last visit, it was her Grandma’s Ham Balls.  This time, it was Grandma’s Tomatoes and Macaroni.

Simple Macaroni and Tomatoes

Maryann has fond memories of her grandma making this old fashioned macaroni and tomatoes for lunch for her and her cousins.

Now, I can imagine that her grandma made this with her canned whole tomatoes from her garden.  She was sure to have many pints of canned tomatoes sitting around ready to be used.

Also, I imagine she made this meal because it’s easy to make, quick to get on the table, and feeds a crowd very frugally. Now, this sounds like just my kind of meal.

The great news is that you do not have to have your own canned tomatoes on hand; instead, use a can of whole tomatoes from the grocery store.  Or, you could even used canned, diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes.  This recipe can be easily adjusted to what you have on hand.

Ingredients for Macaroni with Tomatoes:

Elbow Macaroni, cooked

Canned Whole Tomatoes, do not drain (or 1 pint of home-canned tomatoes)

Sugar

Salt

Butter

Optional Ingredients

Black Pepper

Bacon Grease

Onions

Garlic

Olive Oil

Tomato Sauce

Italian Seasoning

Garlic Powder

Parmesan Cheese

Stewed Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes

Let’s just say, you can make this tomato and macaroni recipe a million different ways, all of which are sure to be delicious.  Here are a few variations.

Macaroni and Tomatoes Variations:

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil to add to the recipe.
  2. Add a couple teaspoons of Italian seasonings or garlic powder.
  3. Use bacon grease to sauté onions in for added flavor.
  4. Instead of canned whole tomatoes, use diced or stewed tomatoes.
  5. Top with grated or shredded parmesan cheese before serving.
  6. For a thicker sauce, add a small can of tomato sauce with the tomatoes.
  7. Season generously with black pepper.

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How to Make Macaroni and Tomatoes?

For the full ingredient amounts and recipe steps for southern macaroni and tomatoes, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Cook elbow macaroni; drain well.
  2. In a large skillet, pour in whole, canned tomatoes with the juices.
  3. Break up the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces with your clean hands or with a meat chopper.
  4. Add cooked macaroni, sugar and salt; stir.  Heat over medium heat until the sauce starts to simmer.
  5. Lower heat; add cubes of butter. Stir until melted.
  6. Serve hot!  It tastes particularly great with bread and butter.

Notes About Southern Tomatoes with Macaroni:

  • Southern Tomatoes and Macaroni is a quick dinner, coming together in approximately 20 minutes.
  • Measure the 2 cups elbow macaroni raw and uncooked.
  • I use canned, whole tomatoes that I break up using my hands and a meat chopper.  Substitute canned, diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes if desired.
  • The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons butter to be stirred in at the end. More can be added, if desired. You can’t go wrong with more butter!
  • Taste before serving, and add additional salt and black pepper, if needed.
  • Adjust this recipe to your family’s personal taste buds by adding garlic powder, onions, tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, bacon grease, etc.
  • My family eats this just as I imagine my Grandpa would, with white bread and butter!
  • Check out our Amazon Store for our favorite pantry essentials like canned tomatoes.

What goes good with macaroni and tomatoes?

For our family the classic dish of macaroni and tomatoes is served with big slabs of heavily buttered bread. My kids top the bread with the macaroni mixture, and my husband sops up the juices with his bread.  But, this old fashioned dish could be served with all sorts of side dishes.  Here are 10 sides to serve with tomatoes and macaroni.

  1. Basic side salad – think lettuce, cheese and dressing.
  2. Applesauce
  3. Cottage Cheese
  4. Cornbread – our family loves a sweet cornbread like this one.
  5. Fruit salad
  6. Cinnamon Apples
  7. Creamed Peas
  8. Perfect Microwave Asparagus
  9. Cucumbers and Onions
  10. Pickled Beets

Pasta Dinner Recipes for Family

Tuna Macaroni and Cheese

Tuna Macaroni and Cheese is a quick, stove top dinner that can be made from pantry staples.  The extra cheesy tuna mac goodness will satisfy everyone in your house.

Ground Beef Goulash 

Ground Beef Goulash might be the easiest, family-pleasing meal of all time. The combination of ground beef, tomatoes, and elbow macaroni and a handful of other easy ingredients comes together to create the perfect marriage of flavors. Believe us when we say, this recipe is a keeper.

Cheesy Tuna Casserole with Macaroni

Cheesy Tuna Casserole is the perfect combination of elbow macaroni, mixed vegetables and Velveeta cheese.  The only thing missing is cream soup.  This version is a tuna casserole without canned soup, made from scratch.

Canned Salmon Casserole

Salmon Casserole features canned salmon, macaroni, cream of celery soup and cheese.

Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes - Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe

Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grandma's macaroni with tomatoes, macaroni and tomatoes, macaroni with tomatoes, old fashioned macaroni and tomatoes, southern macaroni and tomatoes, tomatoes and macaroni
Servings: 6 people
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 28 ounces canned, whole tomatoes (with the juices)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 - 3 Tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Cook elbow macaroni in boiling, salted water according to package instructions. Drain well.
    Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.
  • In a large skillet, pour in tomatoes, breaking them up in bite-sized chunks using a meat chopper or your clean hands.
    Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.
  • Add cooked macaroni, sugar and salt; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.
  • Once simmering, lower heat and add butter, stirring until melted.
    Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.
  • Taste, and add black pepper and additional salt if desired. Tastes great served with buttered bread.
    Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.

Notes

  • Southern Tomatoes and Macaroni is a quick dinner, coming together in approximately 20 minutes.
  • Measure the 2 cups elbow macaroni raw and uncooked.
  • I used canned, whole tomatoes that I broke up using my hands and a meat chopper.  Substitute canned, diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes if desired.
  • The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons butter to be stirring in at the end. More can be added, if desired. You can't go wrong with more butter!
  • Taste before serving, and add additional salt and black pepper, if needed.
  • My family eats this just as I imagine my Grandpa would, with white bread and butter!
  • Adjust this recipe to your family's personal taste buds by adding garlic powder, onions, tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, bacon grease, etc. 
  • Looking for a meatier Tomato and Macaroni recipe? Try our amazing Goulash recipe. 

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Old Fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes takes you back to your childhood.  With a just a few simple ingredients such as canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, sugar, salt and butter, you can recreate Grandma's Macaroni with Tomatoes Recipe.

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2 Comments

  1. A staple in my family for years and years! Only difference is we’ve always used rigatoni macaroni and baked it for 20 minutes. Always found this at family gatherings, funerals, etc.

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