Confetti Macaroni and Cheese


Confetti Macaroni and Cheese

After a long weekend of being sick and not being able to tolerate any solids I am at least back to cooking.  Not eating but cooking.

This was a dish that my children helped create because we needed to get everything ready to go to dance class and I was trying to figure out how to fit dinner in before we had to be in the car and on the road.  They loved the dish because of the bright colors and I loved it because it was easy.

This is macaroni and cheese with diced ham and a bag of mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, beans and peas) added.   This dish fulfills all my needs (except for the salad) for dinner on the go.

Since I let my children name it too they think it is especially cool.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of pasta
  • 3 cups of cheese, grated (I used a mixture of cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack – usually whatever I have as leftovers)
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cups of ham, cooked and diced 1/4″
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of half and half (I used fat-free and it was fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13×9 pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain when completely cooked.
  3. While pasta is cooking melt butter, in a sauce pan, over medium heat.  Once butter is completely melted add flour to make a paste.  Remove pan from heat.
  4. Slowly drizzle in half and half while whisking mixture the entire time to avoid clumping.  Return pan to medium heat and allow milk mixture to slowly cook for 10-15 minutes.  Mixture will start to thicken and reduce.
  5. Remove pan from heat and stir in grated cheese, salt and pepper (to taste).
  6. Add pasta to 13×9 pan.  Pour 1/3 of cheese mixture over pasta.  Stir to coat.  Add vegetables and 1/3 of sauce to pasta.  Stir entire pan to mix and coat.  Finally add ham and rest of cheese sauce to pan. Stir entire mixture carefully to well blended.
  7. Place pan in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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