I often wonder when exactly my deep-seeded love of all things bread / cheese / pasta / carbs began, because as far as I can remember they’ve been my favourite foods. It may have started with a box of Kraft Dinner, and while I still have a place in my heart for that powdered cheese pasta, my tastes are now a little more eclectic and usually involve making my own mac n’ cheese, stuffing it with other yummy things, and baking until crisp and creamy and deliciously cheesy.
This may not be a traditional recipe to post around the holidays, but amid all the holiday turkey / stuffing / ham / Christmas recipes, I think the holidays deserve a good casserole. Something you can make ahead of time and just throw in the oven when you’re ready for it, and not have to worry about.
I’m hosting my Mum + Co. on Christmas Eve this year, and I might just make something similar to this (Mum, any requests?). As much as I love a hearty Christmas feast, Christmas Eve should be a bit more relaxing and it’s okay to serve something a little less maintenance. Plus, I don’t want to spend the entire day and night prepping food, timing what goes in the oven and when, and doing dishes all night.
I’d much rather spend Christmas Eve eating a hearty casserole and sipping hot chocolate (& Baileys) in front of a roaring fire.
And by “roaring fire” I mean that awesome video of a fire you can put on your TV, with the hand that appears to stoke it every so often. I’m without fireplace, which saddens me a bit because I love love love a crackling fire; growing up the hearth was my go-to place to bunker down with books or a pillow and waste the night away.
I’d even settle for a gas fireplace, although my heart belongs to the crackling, smokey-smelling, wood-burning fires.
I’m getting a little off topic here, so to sum up: Ham & Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese Casserole + cozy mealtime + lounging by the fire = what I dream of for Christmas Eve.
|Ham & Broccoli Mac n' Cheese Casserole|| || |
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup cooked ham, diced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Pinch of cayanne pepper
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3 cups macaroni noodles
- 2½ cups chopped broccoli
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large saucepan, saute onion and ham in oil until onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour; cook, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, 8-10 minutes.
- Whisk in mustard, salt, pepper, and cayanne. Stir in cheese until just melted.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook macaroni for 5 minutes. Add broccoli to the pot and cook until pasta is al dente, another 3 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add sauce mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
- In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and butter; sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and top is browned.