Creamy and rich ~ Ham Macaroni & Cheese ~ the perfect comfort food!
First, what could be more comforting than a steaming bowl of macaroni and cheese loaded with sweet ham? You’re right, this is not diet food, but it’s not January 1st yet! New Year’s resolutions don’t start until the new year – at our house anyway. I’m actually looking forward to more salads, simple vegetables, and hearty flavorful soups. And I’m ready to jump right back into my old exercise routine, but not until this leftover ham is gone! Isn’t it funny how the good habits fall away so quickly while the bad habits seem to be easy to do … all the time? Back to the treadmill!
We don’t eat ham very often, but it’s such a great way to feed a crowd at the holidays. I especially love leftover ham for sandwiches, or added to scrambled eggs in the morning. There are so many great ways to enjoy ham, but not many that are better than ham and cheese! Ham and cheese goes together perfectly like peanut butter and jelly, or sausage and biscuits.
In addition to good quality cheese, using evaporated milk in this recipe gives the sauce a thicker, richer texture. Evaporated milk (canned in the US), has had approximately 60% of the water evaporated from the original fresh milk. I have not tested this recipe for Ham Macaroni & Cheese using all fresh milk, but I think the taste would be great, however the sauce may be much thinner, which is not to say it would be bad. If you give it a try, please leave a comment and let us hear from you!
Don’t forget to PIN to your favorite Comfort Food Board!
- 6 ounces pasta, like macaroni or cellentani
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
- 3 tablespoons skim, 2% or regular milk
- 1 large egg
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh black ground pepper
- 4 ounces American Cheese slices, torn into small pieces 6 wrapped slices
- 4 ounces smoked Gouda shredded
- 4 ounces sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1 cup ham diced into 1/2" cubes (plus a dozen extra pieces for garnish if desired)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the pasta al dente, per package instructions. Drain well.
- Return the cooked pasta to the pot and add the butter. Toss to coat until all butter is melted.
- In a small bowl with a spout, whisk together the evaporated milk, regular milk, egg, cayenne and black pepper.
- In a separate small bowl or ziplock bag, combine the American, Gouda and Cheddar cheese.
- Spread 1/3 of the pasta in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with 1/2 of the ham. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the ham and pasta.
- Repeat again starting with the cooked, buttered pasta, the remaining ham, and 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Finally, spread the remaining pasta and cheese on top.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top of the casserole. Top with a few extra pieces of ham if desired.
- Bake until the casserole is set and lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Base recipe inspired by a recipe in the January 2017 issue of RealSimple Magazine
Cover and refrigerate leftovers.
Since the casserole includes ham, no additional salt is needed when cooking.
To freeze the casserole, bake then cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and foil and freeze until needed. Defrost completely in the refrigerator, remove the wrapping and rewrap lightly with foil. Bake (covered with foil) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Recipe may be doubled and cooked in a 13x9-inch casserole dish
Make sure you are using unsweetened evaporated milk, not sweetened condensed milk
Here are a few more recipes you might like to use up the leftover ham:
- Ham & Cheese Breakfast Soufflé
- Ham & Swiss Pasta Roll Up Gratin ~ from The View from Great Island
- Ham and Eggs Benedict Dutch Baby ~ from Seasons and Suppers
- Hot Ham and Cheese Party Rolls ~ from Kevin & Amanda
Finally, have you taken down all your holiday decorations yet? I guess we’ll wait until after the New Year so we can squeeze out a little more enjoyment from all that work! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. We enjoyed time with family, ate way too much food, and did not exercise enough. In my own defense, I’ve been sick for weeks – which was pretty awful at such a busy time of year. I had planned to make a lot of fudge, toffee and other treats as gifts, but ultimately none were made, nor gifted. Being sick is the worst! But I’m on the mend, and I am grateful. Thank goodness for New Year’s resolutions!
Thanks so much for stopping by!