This hearty macaroni and cheese with ham is an easy dish to prepare, and makes a great tasting everyday meal or potluck casserole. Use leftover ham or ham from the deli in this dish, and feel free to omit the green onions. I used a triple blend of cheddar cheeses, but a mixture of cheddar and American cheese would make a creamy cheese sauce as well. Or add some smoked cheddar to the regular cheddar cheese.
Cheddar, Ham, and Pasta Bake
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced, optional
- 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish or spray the dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water following the package directions; drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the milk and flour; whisk to blend thoroughly. Stir in the salt, onion powder, and pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the chopped ham, green onions, if using, and 2 cups of the shredded cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted; remove from the heat.
- Add the drained macaroni to the sauce; stir until well blended.
- In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter; stir until all of the bread crumbs are moistened.
- Spoon the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and then sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the cheese layer.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or the topping is browned and the casserole is hot and bubbling around the edges.
- When you have day old bread, make bread crumbs! Tear the bread up and pulse in the food processor to make crumbs. Freeze the crumbs in a food storage bag and use as a topping for casseroles or as a filler for meatloaf or meatballs.
- Make it a hearty casserole with additional vegetables. Add steamed peas, peas and carrots, or cooked green beans. Cooked frozen mixed vegetables would be good as well.
- Add sliced sauteed mushrooms to the macaroni and sauce mixture.
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