There so much to love about macaroni and cheese. Not only is it a delicious, no frills dish, it’s easily customizable to fit your mood or the occasion. Need to make sure the kids are eating their vegetables? Mix in steamed broccoli. Want to upgrade it for a summer potluck? Stir in your best pulled pork bbq and top with extra barbecue sauce. No matter what you stir in or add on top, macaroni and cheese is always a crowd pleaser.
For this recipe, we mixed in leftover Easter ham and spring peas. If you’re making a spiral ham for Easter dinner, cube the leftovers and store in the fridge. It will be there to grab when you need to make a quick dinner during the week.
Cook elbow macaroni in chicken broth until it absorbs most of it. The broth adds a depth of flavor beyond what you would get from boiling in water. Then add three cups of cheddar cheese, ham, half and half, frozen peas (or leftover peas if they were also on your Easter table), brown mustard and black pepper. Stir until the mixture is well blended and creamy.
Transfer into a baking dish and top with – that’s right – even more cheddar cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake the mac and cheese for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dish is heated through.
The peas add a pop of spring green in the sea of cheese while the cubes of ham are a salty surprise. This easy mac and cheese recipe is great for ridding your fridge of Easter leftovers (and tricking the kids into eating peas). It’s also a great go-to recipe for busy weeknights. You could substitute leftover Easter ham for the deli ham you keep in the fridge. Serve ham and pea mac and cheese as a standalone dinner or as a side dish alongside other spring staples.
Ham & Pea Mac & Cheese
- 1 container (32 ounces) chicken broth
- 1 box (1 pound) elbow macaroni
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cups chopped ham
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high, bring broth to a boil.
- Add macaroni to broth, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes or until most of the broth is absorbed.
- Reduce heat to low and add 3 cups cheese, ham, half and half, peas, mustard and black pepper. Stir until well blended and creamy.
- Pour into a prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through
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