Broccoli, Cheddar and Ham Bake

So how do you get kids to eat their broccoli?  You cover it in melted cheese, ham and pasta!  This works for those picky eaters you have in your house too.

I have an Rachael Ray’s “Tastyapp”  on my phone.  When I was going through my weekly routine, struggling to find  meals, I decided to try something from here.   It was actually the first meal I found under the budget friendly area.

We had a ham in the freezer so that covered two meals!  Monday night I put the ham in the slow cooker, poured some 7up and brown sugar over the top and cooked for about 3-4 hours on low.  I saved the rest for tonights meal.  Simple, tasty and covered the veggie area for the kids!  It worked!

Here’s what you need:

1lb bowtie pasta

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2tbs butter

2tbs flour

1tbsp spicy brown mustard

2 cups milk

1/4 tsp salt and pepper – I used more pepper!

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 box (I used small bag of frozen) brocolli

1/2 pound thickly sliced ham

Here’s how:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a pot of boiling water, cook the noodles to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, spread the nuts in a single layer baking sheet.  Bake them until lightly toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes (don’t forget about them).

Place the pot the pasta was cooked in over medium heat with the butter.  Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for about a minute.  Whisk the mustard and milk into the butter-flour mixture and bring to a bubble.  Season with salt and pepper, simmer until thickened for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the flame (heat) off and add the cheese, stirring until melted and combined.

Add the cooked pasta, broccoli and ham to the pan and stir everything to combine.  Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle the almonds over the top.  Bake until heated through and bubbly, 12-15 minutes, and serve.  We had some garlic, cheese bread with ours.

The best part of this, to me, was the flavor the toasted almonds added to it.  Happy the kids liked it…but happier I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Happy cooking.

Patricia

Two Girls Cooking.

Toffee

Every time I pass a candy store I’m tempted to go in and pick out a treat. Usually if I give in and pick something out, I get some toffee. So I decided I would try to make some for myself. 
Below is the recipe I used, though I would cut back a bit on the almonds. I didn’t quite use a full cup and it’s still a bit too nutty for me.

– Jodi

Recipe
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Topping:
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 6 oz semisweet choc chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake them for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Once the nuts have cooled to room temperature, place in a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, and pulse the almonds until they are finely chopped. Sprinkle half of the nuts in an 8 by 10 inch rectangle on a buttered or oiled baking sheet. Set aside.  
In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan combine the brown sugar, water and butter. Have the baking soda and vanilla extract ready. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and cook. Stir as little as possible and use a wooden spoon to help prevent sugar crystallization. Continue until the mixture reaches 285 degrees F (soft-crack stage) on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat as the temperature will continue to rise. Add the baking soda and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Immediately pour this mixture evenly over the nuts on your baking sheet. Then place the chopped chocolate over the hot toffee. After a few minutes the chocolate will be soft enough to spread with an offset spatula in an even layer over the toffee. Sprinkle the remaining chopped almonds over the melted chocolate.
Cool completely and then cut using a sharp knife or break into pieces.
Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 7 – 10 days.