Shells ‘N’ Cheese with Ham

This is simply delectable – comfort food at it’s finest!  I also like to double this and  freeze a batch of for later, since it reheats really well.

Saucy and delicious!

Time: 35 minutes not including bake time, 1+ hour if baking right away

Yield:  4 main-dish servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch freezable white sauce, still hot
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (unprepared)
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • a couple dashes garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 oz small shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup cubed ham
  • 1/2 sleeve of butter crackers, crushed

    For this pic I forgot cheese, salt, and crackers. Otherwise it is everything :)

Prep an 8x8x2 pan with non-stick spray, or grease of some sort.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

If you are planning to freeze it, cut a minute or two off the cooking time, or if you like your pasta completely soft, cook it to al dente.  Freezing and thawing pasta makes it softer.

Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Meanwhile, stir the spices into the hot white sauce.  Stir in 1 3/4 cup of the cheese until melted, reserving 1/4 cup of cheese for later.

Cheese added to the white sauce.

After the cheese goes in, the sauce is nice and thick.

Add the cheese sauce to the cooked pasta and stir it together.  Stir in the cubed ham.  *If freezing, stop here and follow the instructions below.

Ham and sauce added, and into the pan it goes!

Pour it into the greased pan, sprinkle the remaining cheese over it, then top with the crushed crackers.

Crackers on top!

Bake uncovered in a  350°F oven until it is heated completely through and the crackers are slightly browned.

 

*If freezing, pour it into the pan, sprinkle the cheese over it, and wrap it in foil.  Wrap it in one full layer of plastic wrap.  Label it.  Place the crackers in a small baggie and place the baggie on top of the wrapped pan.  Wrap it fully again, over the crackers to hold them inside, and freeze it until ready to use.  Thaw it for 24 hours (or until completely thawed) and bake  uncovered in a  350°F oven until it is heated completely through and the crackers are slightly browned.

 

 

 

 

 

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