EASY Frugal One Pot Mac and Cheese With Ham for the Freezer OAMC
- Ready In:
- 1hr 45mins
- 3⁄4 lb dry elbow macaroni
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons oil or 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 1⁄2 - 3⁄4 lb ham, diced small
- 1⁄4 lb butter
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese or 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
- In a large pot, cook macaroni in boiling water until almost (but not quite) al dente, about 3 minutes less than you would like it done if you were going to eat it right now.
- drain in colander and rinse well in cold water to stop the cooking process. set aside to drain in colander some more while you finish preparing the other items.
- over medium-low heat, melt 1-1/2 teaspoons butter or oil (any type) in same pot you just boiled the mac inches.
- add diced onion. cook and stir frequently until onions just start to become translucent.
- add diced ham and stir just till warmed. transfer onions and ham to a dish or paper plate and set aside.
- melt 4 oz butter over medium-low heat in same pot you just cooked onions inches when butter begins bubbling, stir constantly until it stops foaming, 2-4 minutes. (this is step 1 to preventing a grainy, flour taste in the sauce!).
- have your whisk at the ready! dump in the flour. whisk, whisk, whisk until all lumps are gone and butter/flour mixture turns golden, about 3-5 minutes. (the second step to preventing a grainy, raw flour tasting sauce!) do no allow it to turn brown! your cheesy sauce will taste burnt and gross if you let the roux get dark!
- dump the milk in all at once and whisk until there are no longer any lumps. add the nutmeg, black pepper and cayenne. increase heat slightly and using your whisk, stir briskly until mixture boils.keep stirring and let it boil for 1-2 minutes (step three to preventing that grainy, icky flour taste!).
- remove from burner and dump in the onion/ham mixture and the cheeses (or cheese and sour cream/cream cheese). stir to blend.
- let sit for 5 minutes to cool down a bit.
- stir in the macaroni to coat well.
- spoon into buttered pan(s) -- whatever type pan you prefer will work. i got a pack of (4) cheapie aluminum 7” pie pans at the dollar store (perfect size for two people!). i filled (3) for the freezer and still had a good-sized bowl left for hubby to eat tomorrow.
- cover with aluminum foil and put in freezer.
- to heat from frozen: preheat oven to 350f. bake for 40-45 minutes if your pan is small (like mine are!) if you froze the entire mixture in one casserole dish, bake for 1 to 1 - 1/2 hours. stir at the 45 minute mark, replace the foil and continue baking.
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