Macaroni And Tomatoes Is A Classic, No-Fuss Meal For Anytime

Take it from grilled cheese sandwiches, slow cooker chili, and chicken quesadillas – you don't need a long ingredient list or fancy cooking techniques to make a warm, comforting meal. And if you're a fan of easy dishes that don't take much effort to whip up, you'll want to try macaroni and tomatoes. It's just what it sounds like: Cooked macaroni noodles mixed with canned tomatoes, plus a few other optional ingredients to give the dish a little boost.

Not only is this meal incredibly affordable, but it takes about 10 minutes and little to no technique to create. All you have to do is cook the noodles, then heat up the tomatoes with their juice to create a makeshift sauce, and stir the two together. If the combination sounds a little out there at first, it's actually a tale as old as time: Mixing pasta with tomato flavors. Plus, this dish is easily customizable, so you can make the recipe as simple or as complex as you want it. And once you're done, it can be served as a comforting main or side dish.

Macaroni and cheese, who?

If you grew up in the South, chances are you were served macaroni and tomatoes at home at some point in time. This dish may have originated during the Great Depression, when its short, affordable ingredient list made it an easy dinner for families to put on the table. It's often a favorite meal during the summer, when tomatoes are at their ripest. Of course, pasta and tomatoes are a combination that has spanned centuries and continents, as Europeans were making this type of foodie magic all the way back in the 1800s.

But as connoisseurs will tell you, this macaroni delight is meant to stand on its own two feet, separate from Italian cooking. Sugar is often added into the mix to balance out the tomatoes' acidity, and many classic recipes include bacon grease to cook the fruits in (although butter is sometimes substituted), onions, and ground beef.

You can also boil the noodles in chicken broth instead of water, sprinkle on some garlic and herbs, sub the beef for sausage or chopped bacon, or even use a little canned tomato soup instead of the diced stuff. A dash of shredded cheese on top never hurt anyone either. But if you do stick to the basics here, not only will you wind up with a deliciously simple dish, but you'll be eating it how it was originally intended.