|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 53g||68%|
|Saturated Fat 29g||143%|
|Total Carbohydrate 45g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||16%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Macaroni and cheese is delicious, but it can be a little bland; it's also a recipe that's a bit of a blank canvas. By adding ham, it becomes more flavorful. Feel free to use leftover ham or ham from the deli in this dish and feel free to omit the green onions. A blend of two or three cheeses works well in the dish, such as triple cheddar or cheddar and Monterey Jack. A mixture of cheddar and American cheese would make a creamy cheese sauce as well. Or add some smoked cheddar cheese to the regular cheddar cheese for a more complex taste.
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
- 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 breadcrumbs
Gather the ingredients.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish with a tablespoon of melted butter 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.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and flour, and whisk to blend thoroughly. Stir in the salt, onion powder, and pepper. Cook, stirring, 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 breadcrumbs with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir until all of the breadcrumbs are thoroughly moistened.
Spoon the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and then sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs 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 breadcrumbs. Tear the bread up and pulse in the food processor to make crumbs. Freeze the crumbs in a food storage bag and use them when needed. They make excellent toppings for all kinds of casseroles or for fillers for meatloaf or meatballs.
- Make it a hearty casserole with additional vegetables. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of steamed frozen peas, a combination of steamed peas and diced carrots, or cooked green beans. Cooked frozen mixed vegetables would be good as well.
- Add sliced sautéed mushrooms to the macaroni and sauce mixture, along with a little dried or fresh thyme.
- For a lighter sauce, replace half of the milk with chicken stock or vegetable broth (low sodium). Or make the sauce even creamier by using some half-and-half or light cream in place of some of the milk.
How to Store and Freeze Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese with ham will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator if covered. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat until heated through.
Mac and cheese will freeze, too. Make sure it's well-wrapped with as much air pressed out of it as possible, or in a sealed container. Defrost in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stovetop or in the oven around 350 F, in a casserole dish.