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Simple new takes on two familiar favourites

There’s a reason most meals become popular: they’re good. But if the onslaught of gourmet burger restaurants has taught us anything, it’s that it never hurts to try something new. 

Here are two recipes from two great people—Justin Dallaire and Jesse Colautti’s mothers—that will make you both figuratively and literally look outside the box.

Tomato soup mac n’ cheesemacandcheese3

The key to making the cheesiest homemade mac n’ cheese is a can of tomato soup. It’s a secret my mother learned in home ec. class, and one that can serve any university student well—pun intended. Make it your own by using your favourite cheeses, spices, or extra ingredients. 


  • 1 box Kraft Dinner
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • Marble or cheddar cheese
  • Bread crumbs or crushed crackers
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp. basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • Half a diced tomato


  1. Boil the noodles and prepare the tomato soup according to instructions. In the meantime, begin grating a mountain of marble or cheddar cheese.
  2. Drain and pour the noodles into a baking dish, and gradually pour approximately half the soup over them while mixing in the cheese, butter, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and diced tomato.
  3. Sprinkle finely crushed crackers or bread crumbs over the top of the dish, adding Parmesan if you have it. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Thank me (or my mom).  

—Justin Dallaire

Mama Colautti’s apple-soaked ribs


This recipe comes from a local cooking legend in Markham, Ont., who happens to be my mother. It’s a great apple twist on a familiar favourite: ribs. In my mom’s words, this recipe has given her fame, but no fortune.


  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. garlic
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 large racks of pork ribs


  1. Mix together all ingredients (except the ribs) in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and set aside.
  3. Simmer the ribs for about an hour in a large pot.
  4. Cover the ribs in half the mixed sauce, and bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Turn the ribs over and baste with the remaining sauce.
  6. Bake for another 45 minutes.

—Jesse Colautti