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Ultra Creamy Ham and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love a good helping of homemade Mac-n-Cheese? It’s undeniably good in almost any variety, but this version takes a classic comfort food to new heights with crisp raw broccoli and subtly smoky ham. For the ultimate in creamy melty goodness, we used cream cheese instead of cheddar for a milder compliment to the other flavors. This dish is so jaw-droppingly good that our picky eater didn’t complain once about the veggies. If that’s not a positive review, I haven’t heard one!

This Mac and Cheese is far better than the unnaturally orange kind most of us grew up with as kids, but makes in about the same amount of time. Cream cheese melts extremely easily, so there is no worry of stringy, separated sauce. It’s also very mild in flavor, which allows the ham and broccoli to shine through. If you want a little more of a cheese kick, just add some crumbled feta or grated parmesan to the sauce at the end. This dish was however, designed to please little Mr. Picky Palate, so we left the stronger cheese notes out.

Another benefit to this recipe is that it’s an all-in-one meal. All of the four food groups are represented happily in a way that both kids and adults can enjoy. It’s sinfully creamy, delightfully decadent, but at least plays at being a bit healthy. The paprika adds a very subtle sweet-smoky note in the background that the little one’s might miss, but the adults will most definitely enjoy, and it’s all ready in less than 30 minutes. Can it get better than that?

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Ultra Creamy Ham and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Yield: 8 servings

Ultra Creamy Ham and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or other pasta of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 3 Green onions, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 8 ounces Cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 pound Cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 pound Broccoli florets, chopped finely
  • Salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until just lightly browned and the flour smells nutty (About a minute.) Add milk, stirring constantly, and bring just to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until thickened. (About 2 minutes)
  3. Stir in green onions and add cream cheese, 1/4 at a time. Stir each portion of cream cheese until it is completely melted before adding the next portion. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain pasta well. Return to pot. Add ham and broccoli and stir to mix. Pour cheese sauce over and stir until well combined. Serve Hot.
  5. Share and Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 380Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 796mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 22g

Do you have a favorite mac and cheese recipe? Do you secretly stockpile a few boxes of the unnaturally orange stuff in the back of the cupboard for a rainy day? Have you been uneasy about making mac and cheese from scratch? let us know. And definitely let us know if you try the recipe, we’d love to know what you think of it!

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