If you have children that are older than bottle/breastfeeding age, chances are you have become intimately familiar with a perennial childhood favorite: Macaroni and cheese. I know it was one of my favorites as a child…still is, as a matter of fact, and it seems to hold universal appeal for kids everywhere. My husband grew up eating macaroni and cheese, but his mom did it herself, not from a box. I have to say, her version is definitely better! Plus, it offers more nutrition. My 34-month-old son asks for it on a weekly basis (although we don’t make it that often), and he always helps scoop in the ingredients and layer on the cheese.
Here’s Grandma Leen’s Mac and Ham Casserole recipe – modified slightly by me to include whole grain pasta:
- 12 ounces whole grain elbow macaroni (dry)
- 12 ounces 1/2″ diced ham, such as Farmland
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 10 slices provolone cheese
- 10 slices American cheese
- Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
- Spray a 9″x13″ baking dish with cooking spray and spread half the drained macaroni in the bottom.
- Scoop on half the onions and half the tomatoes, dolloping evenly over the surface of the macaroni.
- Scoop on half the ham.
- Layer the provolone on top of that.
- Put the rest of the macaroni as a second layer; put the rest of the onions, tomatoes, and ham on top of that.
- Top with the American cheese slices (be sure to unwrap them!!) and cover the pan with tented aluminum foil. It helps to spray the foil (underside only) with cooking spray also to help avoid sticking.
- Bake for 30 minutes, covered, at 325F degrees.
- Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. You can also broil for a minute or 2 to brown up the cheese a bit.
Easy and delicious, and everyone in our family just loves Grandma Leen’s Mac and Ham Casserole! You will, too.