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A lot of us will be baking a ham in the coming weeks for our Easter celebrations. This means many of us will have leftover ham languishing in our refrigerators in the days afterwards. It can be a bit of a challenge at times to present leftovers in a way that our family will enjoy.
That’s when I like to use recipes such as this easy ham and pasta casserole. It really doesn’t get much easier or tastier than this one.
This ham casserole recipe is one I found in one of my recent cookbook purchases. Better Homes & Gardens 365 Comfort Foods, inspiring meals for every day of the year.
I love books like this. They are filled to overflowing with delicious, family-friendly meals that are usually quite easy to make. Most of the recipes are not complicated and use simple ingredients.
I have ended up in the land of simple eats here at my Sister’s house. Both my father and her partner are very simplistic in what they like to eat and so most days it is very simple fare. Meat and potatoes, and veg or a salad.
Not very adventurous to say the least. My father has always been that way. My mother was never allowed to use much more than salt and pepper in her cooking. Nothing has changed. He still balks at anything at all out of the ordinary.
If he gets even a whiff of Parmesan that is it, he becomes very suspicious of what is on his plate. We do sneak some in here and there, but we need to be very judicious to say the least!
He does take a lady friend out for fish and chips every Wednesday night and so we have declared that on Wednesdays we will get a bit more adventurous because he won’t be here. This week we are having tacos, and I hope (fingers crossed) next week we can do a curry!
Sometimes you can feel a bit uninspired when it comes to leftovers. My father absolutely does not like leftovers if he knows he is eating leftovers. Funny that. I, myself, love leftovers. And I love being inventive with them.
I thought we might be fairly safe with this casserole because leftover ham is not like other leftover meats. We all enjoy a ham sandwich now and then and what is a ham sandwich, or sliced ham but already cooked ham! A leftover to be honest, no matter how it is packaged up!
One thing I really liked about this easy casserole was that it involved not much more than simply stirring some things together in a casserole dish. You don’t even need to cook the macaroni first. It cooks right in the casserole!
You make a loose sauce using some milk and condensed cream of celery soup. If you cannot get condensed soups, then you may make a cream sauce based on 1 1/2 cups of liquid, 1 1/2 TBS of butter and 1 1/2 TBS of flour.
Because it uses cream of celery soup, I would use half milk and half vegetable broth to make the cream sauce, and perhaps add a pinch of celery salt. Once you have made the sauce, then simply whisk in the remaining milk as per the recipe.
I am fairly confident it will work perfectly and you will still end up with a delicious casserole.
Myself, I have a thing about using canned mushrooms. I cannot stand then. When I think about how we used to add to them to a lot of things in years gone by, I can’t believe it. They are so rubbery and bland!
Plus I really wonder about the source of them. I am not that happy about eating food-stuffs that come from China. I cannot help it. I just think to myself, no . . . not going there.
This recipe does call for one can of sliced mushrooms, drained. I used a package of sliced cremini mushrooms in the place of the tinned mushrooms.
I just cooked them in a skillet with a tiny bit of butter first. I also added the onions, ham and peppers to the skillet. We had a ham steak and it seemed a bit watery, so I wanted to cook out some of that and I thought if I was going to be browning the mushrooms then why not add all of it.
I was a bit concerned that the ham would release too much water when it was cooking so there was a method to my madness. It worked out perfectly!
Have you ever noticed how watery ham gets when you freeze it??? Where does it all come from! I never freeze ham for that reason. I prefer to use it up in whatever way I can. This was perfect.
The original recipe called for only half the cheese that I used. I felt it could use more, so I doubled it. (I know, I’m shameless!) I stirred half of it into the casserole and sprinkled the remaining half on top for the last 10 minutes of baking.
You could pop it under a grill for a few minutes if you wanted a golden brown topping, but I didn’t bother. We had it with salad and boiled carrots. I think some crusty bread would have gone perfectly.
Dad enjoyed it. Job done.
One Step Ham Casserole
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 50 Mininactive time: 10 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This delicious casserole is as simple as stirring together a few ingredients, and then baking. You can use tinned ingredients or you can use my suggestions in the notes for using fresh ingredients.
1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk
1 (10.75oz/300g) tin of condensed cream of celery soup
2 cups diced cooked ham
1 cup (150g) dried elbow macaroni
1( 4-oz /115g) tin of sliced mushrooms, drained
2 TBS diced red pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup (235g) grated cheddar cheese, divided (I use strong)
Preheat the oven to 375*F/190*C/gas mark 5.
You will need a 2 liter/2 QT casserole dish. Add the soup to the dish (ungreased) and slowly whisk in the milk. Stir in the ham, macaroni, peppers, mushrooms, and onion, combining well together.
Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
Bake, undisturbed for about 40 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender. Remove from the oven.
Stir half of the cheese into the macaroni mixture and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Delicious!
I really don’t like tinned mushrooms and so I choose to use fresh mushrooms which I sauté in a skillet until browned. I then add the to the casserole as above. I use about 2 cups sliced. If you like you can also brown the ham a little bit along with the peppers and onion at the same time.
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at mariealicejoan at aol dot com.
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