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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Ham

ahh.... comfort foods...Do you have a favorite? Send your recipe along and I'll post it.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

2 Tblsp. Cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups milk

Bring this to a boil over a med-high heat, stirring constantly & boil 1 minute and then remove from the heat. I do this in a large pot so I can mix everything together at the end. To this add: 8 oz. Velvetta that you've shredded or diced and 8 oz. or mild or sharp (or there are pkgs. of mixed) shredded cheddar cheese. If you buy a 12 oz. package reserve about a third or so to sprinke on the top.

While the cheese sauce is being made - In a medium frying pan, fry 1 medium to small diced onion and 2 - 1/4" thick pieces of ham you've diced (I like Russer Lite from the Deli) in 2-3 Tblsp. butter. When the onions are nicely wilted and the ham is slightly browned add this to the already melted cheese mixture.

Now for pasta, I actually like to use (1 whole box) Cellentani. They look like corkscrews. Remember it should be slightly undercooked. You really want it al dente, firm. Add this last to the pot and stir everything together.
Put it all into a 13 x 9" greased pan. Sprinkle top first with some shredded cheddar cheese and then plain bread crumbs. I like to use Panko bread crumbs found in the Oriental foods section. Kikkoman products have them.
Bake: 375' for about 25 to 30 minutes. Top should be slightly browned. You can even place it under the broiler for the last minute or two but watch it closely. The top will be crunchy. If you don't like it this way, leave off the bread crumbs. We like the crunchy top.


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