Have leftovers from Easter still hanging around your house? I can’t help you too much with any leftover hard-boiled eggs, but this recipe will certainly help you use up that leftover ham and another surprising ingredient that may be hanging around your house after Easter dinner. Carrots… This recipe from Clean Eating for broccoli and cheese casserole actually uses cooked, pureed carrots to help slim down the cheese sauce.
Using up leftovers and turning them into a healthy meal? Sounds good in my book. I’ve made the recipe a couple of times. The second time I decreased the amount of crushed red pepper slightly, and we liked it much better. It is not really that it is too spicy with the full amount, but the flavor is just too overpowering. Be sure to use a cheese that you really enjoy. I found a reduced-fat sharp cheddar by Cabot that works really well for this dish.
Sadly, we both worked last weekend, so I don’t have any Easter leftovers. So, if anyone wants to send a bit of ham my way, I’d love to make this again! Enjoy!
Ham, Cheese, and Broccoli Casserole
Adapted from Clean Eating: Classic Comfort Foods
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (originally 1 Tbsp)
1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta, desired shape
4 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup, cubed cooked lean ham
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss broccoli and cauliflower with oil and red pepper flakes. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, boil some water in a medium saucepan. Add pasta and cook about 5 minutes or until al dente per package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a separate medium saucepan, combine carrots, milk, and 1/2 cup water. Place on medium-low heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until carrots soften. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes. You can transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor; add cheese and pulse until smooth. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender (this is what I did). Set aside.
In an 8×10-inch baking dish, combine broccoli-cauliflower mixture, carrot-cheese mixture, pasta and ham. Spread mixture in an even layer. Cover with Panko bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes or until topping is browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.