Mac N Cheese with Ham and Broccoli

dsc_1100RECIPE #276, DAY #478


ORIGINAL RECIPE: Just made up from traditional mac ‘n’ cheese recipes*

TIMING: 1 1/2 hours

DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate

TOOLS: Regular things, like a pot to boil water, a whisk, and a casserole dish

COOK TYPE: Stovetop and oven

HEALTH: You won’t any health awards serving mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner, but you might get kudos for sneaking veggies and protein into there.


EXPERIENCE: I was stocking the fridge with meals that I could make when we got home from vacation. I let my kids pick a meal, and my son picked macaroni and cheese. So I threw a caveat at him, telling him he had to add a meat and a veggie. I helped him choose ham and broccoli, because that’s a classic.

In the end, the broccoli pervaded the casserole and scared my son off, but I thought it was just fine. Again, a classic.

NOTES: Instead of the broccoli, you could go with cauliflower, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts. You could also replace 1 cup of the milk with a good, stout beer.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cook 8 ounces macaroni according to package directions, in salted water.
  3. Meanwhile, defrost or blanch 2 heads chopped broccoli. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons minced onion and stir until almost browning. Whisk in 4 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, and a pinch of black (or white) pepper. Whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in 3 cups milk. Keep whisking until sauce thickens and just comes to a simmer. Whisk in 4 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese until sauce is smooth.
  5. In a baking pan or casserole dish, combine the macaroni, cheese sauce, and 12 ounces-1 pound diced ham. Gently fold in the broccoli.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and top with 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar, and return to oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese has begun to brown.


Serve with a garden salad and a light dressing. It might make you feel better.

*Recipe changed from the original.



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