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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pasta Bakes

At the rate I am going, I am going to be able to write a book on all the pasta bakes I have tried. I could be an advocate for pasta bakes. I stand by my previous statements of "Pasta bakes are fast and convenient" if you are short on time or you want left overs for tomorrow - assuming you have leftovers, it's easy for me because we are going to have leftovers with just Glen and I. I don't know but words like low sodium, reduced fat and all those veggies make me feel good about this recipe, quite possibly a misplaced "Feel good" factor but it is what it is, personally I don't put much stock into low fat, no sugar ingredients - too much information is out their for you to read and so many people with different ideas it's hard to keep up with the latest new "Health" fad. Best example I can give of this, in my experience is low fat yogurt, I used to be quite heavy and got quite excited because I found out I have an under active thyroid - on medication I was likely (and did) lose the weight quite quickly, but I decided to eat more healthily too. I'm two things, a really bad liar, as such I don't bother, but I am also quite animated, when I get excited (basically I am trying to nicely say that at times I tend to run my mouth without thinking, usually when I get excited) yacking at work one day I was explaining about my new "diet" and these low fat, no sugar yogurts, to which I was told there is so much sweetener in them they're no better for you than if you ate a normal yogurt, so what's true? To be honest I don't know, I could go down to the library or do some research on the Internet, but to what avail? I'd end up with more information than I know what to do with, confusion? No I don't think so. I now take the moderation view, I feel this is better for me. This is not to say that at times I don't live in the misguidance (or not) that low fat, no sugar IS better for me, after all slimming world suggests using these products so there has to be something beneficial in it? And there we come full circle yet again.

Broccoli Ham Bake
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (or other similar pasta)
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large finely chopped onion
1 cup cubed cooked ham
2 tbsp butter, divided
1/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
4 cups fat-free milk
2 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup day old bread crumbs
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, meanwhile cook the broccoli until crisp tender.
2. In a deep skillet melt a tbsp of the butter and saute the onion and ham until the onion is softened, sprinkle with the flour, stir until well blended, then slowly stir in the milk, bring to a boil continuously stirring until thickened.
3. Stir in the cheese, parsley, mustard and all the seasonings. Drain the broccoli and pasta, stir into the cheese sauce and then transfer into an oven proof dish.
4. In a small skillet, melt the remaining butter add the breadcrumbs and stir. Sprinkle over the pasta mixture. Bake uncovered at 350F/180C for 25 minutes or until heated through.

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