Cheddar Mac & Ham Casserole

If that doesn’t scream comfort food I don’t know what does!  Chances are you already have to make Mac and Cheese at least once a week for your little ones, but if you have to eat it I say you should at least enjoy it.  I am not a fan of Mac and Cheese by itself, but I LOVE it like this.  Most shocking thing of all though is how low calorie this recipe is…. relative to how much you can eat at least!  I am going to make myself sound like a pig, but when I make this I portion it into three servings.  So for an entire third of a casserole it’s only about 600 calories!  That’s a heaping plate full of cheesey, yummy goodness!

I think I came across this recipe on a site called Key Ingredient, which for those that aren’t familiar, is a recipe sharing site that goes along with the Demy (an electronic recipe reader).  The only thing I have changed from the original recipe was to pre-cook the ham a bit because I don’t care for the fatty chewy parts and that eliminates the issue.  I have tried this with an alfredo type Mac and Cheese and it was also VERY good, but normally I stick to the four cheese like it calls for.  When I am not counting calories I eyeball the ham and cheese and probably end up with more than it calls for, but it is great either way.  I also often put a little more peas than it calls for, but I figure that is actually healthier.  As for the ham… it calls for a half lb, but every time I go to the store and ask the deli counter for half a lb cut thick (sometimes I buy a ham steak from the meat section too) they end up giving me closer to 3/4-1 lb and I just throw it all in if I am not worried about the extra calories that day.

Anyway, I definitely recommend this one, and think it will easily become a regular in your dinner rotation.

Cheddar Mac & Ham Casserole

Serves : 3-4                       Time to make : 25 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (14 oz) box of 4 cheese Deluxe Mac & Cheese
  • 1/2 lb Ham, cubed
  • 1 C. frozen peas (I use more like 1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk (or whatever you have)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Also start a large pot of water to boiling.
  2. Meanwhile cook the ham in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 4 minutes.  I find this not only eliminates the chewy parts of the ham, but it just adds more depth to the flavor so I suggest you don’t skip this step.  I usually add just a tad bit of water (like a T.) towards the end of the cook time to the skillet to help get up some of the browned bits in the pan and keep it moist and flavorful.  Set aside.
  3. Once water is boiling add your pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Drain pasta then add the cheese packet and stir until well combined. 
  4. Next add the milk, peas, and ham.
  5. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle cheese over top.  Bake for 15 minutes.

cheddarmac&hamcasserole

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