Ham and Cheese Pasta

Craftsy

I think it’s time for another recipe!  This ham and cheese pasta was inspired partly by a food video I saw on Facebook  and partly by an Instagramer’s post about pasta.  After seeing all the posts, I wanted some cheesy pasta!  In order to make it a meal, I needed to add some protein and veggies.  A quick look in one of my freezers turned up some ham steaks I had been collecting – because of coupons (dang those coupons!).  I had about half a container of  “power” greens left which was perfect for the veggies.  Since this is a fairly easy recipe to throw together, I decided to take pictures and share it with y’all.  Let’s get cooking!

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IngredientsIngredients

The ingredients are fairly simple and things I have hanging around my kitchen most of the time.  And no, I didn’t get paid to talk about these ingredients.  I just like to share what I used!

The ham steaks are by Smithfield and they are frequently buy one get one free at Publix.  I also frequently get coupons for them, so coupon + BOGO = cheap!  My butter is a combo of a leftover half-stick and a Saute Express, both by Land O Lakes.  The Saute Express is a combo of butter, olive oil, and seasoning.  It’s okay, but it’s here because of coupons!  Regular salted butter will work just fine and that’s what’s listed on the recipe card.  The greens I used are from Earthbound Farm’s Power Trio.  This is a blend of baby chard, kale, and spinach – yummy!  Kraft’s Triple Cheddar blend is frequently in my fridge.  It’s great for casseroles and mac & cheese.  Egg noodles, milk, and flour round out the rest of the ingredients.

 

Ham, Greens, and Pasta!

I cooked everything in the same pot and the only other things I used were a knife, spoon, colander, and bowl.  This made clean-up easier, which is always a plus in my book!  Heat up the pot to between medium and high heat.  This helps get a little char on the ham.  Dice up the ham and toss it in!

cooking-ham2

Cook until browned and then remove from the pot.

charred-ham

Add about 2-4 Tbsp of water to the hot pot.  This will help pull up some of the bits left by the ham.  Chop up the greens and toss them into the pot.

wilt-kale

Saute the greens until wilted, then remove them from the pot, and add to the ham.

kale-and-ham

Add water to the pot to boil the pasta.  You can check the bag for how much, I just eyeball it usually.  Don’t rinse out the pot, you don’t want to loose all that flavor!  Add the noodles and cook per package instructions.  Save some of the water – about 1/2 cup – then drain the pasta off in the colander and set aside.

add-water

Cheese Sauce

Making a cheese sauce is not all that difficult.  It’s all about watching the milk once you add it so it doesn’t get scorched.  Believe me, I learned that the hard way!  Scorched mac & cheese is disgusting, in case you wanted to know.

  • Butter – melt the butter in the pan over medium heat.
  • Flour – once the butter is melted, add the flour.  Stir until there are no more flour bits and the butter starts to brown.
  • Milk – add the milk slowly.  Stir until the sauce thickens.  It’s done when it clings to the spoon more and gets a glossy appearance.
  • Cheese – remove the pot from the heat source and add the cheese.  Stir until fully incorporated.
  • Consistency – I wanted this sauce to be thinner than what I use for mac & cheese.  The sauce should stick to the spoon, but pour out.  If it’s too thick, use some of the pasta water to loosen it up. (Yes I know I misspelled “consistency” in my photo.  It’s really bugging me, but it’s not easy to change!)

cheese-sauce

Finishing

Add the pasta, ham, and greens into the cheese sauce and stir it up!

add-in-extras

Doesn’t that look delicious?

stir

Scoop some in a bowl and enjoy!  Maybe sprinkle on some more cheese…

eat-it2

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  I’m having some leftovers for lunch.  See y’all next time!

 

 

Ham and Cheese Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

A ham and cheese sandwich in pasta form!

Ingredients

  • 2 packs ham steaks (or leftover ham), diced
  • (1) 8 oz package egg noodles
  • (1/2) 5 oz container of kale or spinach or blend, chopped
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour

Instructions

  1. Heat pot to medium-high heat and add diced ham. Cook until charred. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add 2-4 Tbsp of water to the pot and scrape up ham bits. Add the chopped greens and cook until wilted. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. Fill pot with water needed to boil pasta (check package directions). Bring to a boil and add pasta. When pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining. Set aside drained pasta.
  4. Heat pot to medium and add butter.
  5. Once it's melted, add the flour. Cook until flour is well incorporated and butter is browned.
  6. Add the milk and cook until everything is well incorporated and sauce has thickened.
  7. Remove pot from heat and add cheese. Stir in cheese until fully melted. The sauce should be able to pour from spoon. If it's too thick, add reserved pasta water, a little at a time, until consistency is right.
  8. Add ham, greens, and pasta back to cheese sauce. Stir to combine.
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