So this morning I really didn't want to make dinner. Why should I be thinking about dinner when I still have breakfast and lunch to think about? Boxed Macaroni and Cheese, that's what I am doing...it's easy won't require any thought or effort, it's perfect! A few hours go by....I think "hey, I'll just add the left over ham slices from the corn chowder I made the other day...then it won't seem so half-assed, Cool!" a half hour goes by....hmmm...more thinking...."boxed macaroni and cheese really isn't that healthy, I should probably add some peas too!" Around 3:30 an epiphany occurs..."I'll make homemade macaroni and cheese with whole wheat pasta, ham slices, peas and a buttery crumble crust! Oh it will be so good, and easy!" At 4:40 the Macaroni and Cheese CASSEROLE comes out of the oven bubbly and smelling scrumtious! My husband ate half, my son had his first macaroni and cheese experience and I am thrilled that it wasn't from a box.
Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
2 c.raw whole wheat penne pasta
2 c. 1% milk 2 c. sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. sliced or cubed ham
1 Tbsp. flour 4 Tbsp. butter
6-10 butter crackers(Ritz or any store brand will do)
salt and pepper to taste
Spray casserole dish with non stick spray. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in large saucepan, add flour to melted butter and whisk. Slowly add milk while whisking. Whisk until slightly thick and add 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese. Add pinch of salt and pepper. Meanwhile boil water and cook pasta until chewy. Strain water from pasta and put pasta in casserole dish. Top with peas, ham and cheese sauce. Mix thoroughly, add remaining cheese to top of pasta mix. Put crackers in a plastic bag and mash until crumbly, add crumbly mixture to top of casserole. Put in oven for 20-30 minutes. Take out of oven and let sit for 10 minutes to settle.