Spicy Mac and Cheese with Ham

I read recently that in hard times people find themselves craving more comfort food. I’m not sure how the rest of the nation is handling the recession, but I’m definitely finding myself drawn to all things warm and homey. Enjoy this southwestern twist on an old classic. It serves 4 hungry adults.

mac and cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cheddar cheese (low fat Sargento melts really nicely)
  • 1 lb low fat cottage cheese
  • 8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb cooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 Serrano peppers (or any other pepper you like), sliced once longways, and then in thin slices across
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1/4 pound ham (I used lunchmeat), cut in small bite-sized pieces
  • ground cumin
  • smoked paprika
  • Grated parmesan
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl. Crack the two eggs over the noodles and stir well.
  3. Fold in the cheeses and sour cream/yogurt, then the corn, peppers, and ham.
  4. Sprinkle in some ground pepper and salt, about a tablespoon of cumin. Stir well to distribute the spices.
  5. Pour the mixture into a baking dish (you will probably need more than one). Press the pile of noodles down so that the surface is fairly smooth and the dish is dense.
  6. Pour about a half-cup of breadcrumbs in a small bowl, and mix with ground pepper and about a teaspoon of the smoked paprika, plus some dry grated parmesan (about a tablespoon of that too).
  7. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the mac and cheese dishes. The paprika gives it a lovely dash of color!
  8. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. You will know it is done when there are little bubbles coming up even in the center, and a noodles that poke up on top are turning nice and brown.

Serve with red wine – we had a lovely Spanish Rioja. It’s the perfect dish to serve in big, hearty bowls to friends sitting around catching up. What better way to ride out life’s rough patches?

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One response to “Spicy Mac and Cheese with Ham

  1. yesss! it was so good!!! thanks for putting it up.

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