My whole family could live on my Baked Macarroni and Cheese recipe. In fact, the first time I made it the kids weren’t home and the HH and I scarfed down an entire 9×13 pan without them. Oops. So of course when I was looking for ways to use up my leftover ham from Christmas, this recipe came to mind. I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but it makes that recipe even yummier. I didn’t even think that was possible.
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pasta and Cheese
1 lb elbow macaroni or penne noodles
2 cups chopped ham
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups milk
6 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
For the crumb topping
Toss the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter until thoroughly coated and set aside.
For the Macaroni and cheese:
In a large pot, boil 4 quarts of water. Cook the pasta using package direction until tender, drain and set aside.
Melt 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Mix in the flour, mustard, and cayenne and whisk for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour milk in slowly, whisking constantly until all lumps are stirred out.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue whisking for 3 minutes or until the sauce is thick.
Remove from the heat and stir in shredded cheese until melted. Gently fold in noodles.
Pour noodle mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish and cover with crumb topping.
Broil in oven until bread topping is golden brown. Serve warm.