28 December, 2020
Taking Care of LeftoversPosted in : Cooking on by : Sheila Tags: cheddar cheese, cream cheese, ham, hands off meal, Instant Pot, macaroni and cheese, one pot meal, parmesan cheese, vegetables
(sung to the tune of “Taking Care of Business” – the last word is a bit of a stretch, but I’m taking artistic license with it)
I like turkey, but I’ve never really liked turkey leftovers – turkey casserole, turkey soup, hot turkey sandwiches, reheated turkey dinner….blah. I have discovered I like turkey rosemary noodle soup, but that’s another post. This being said, you’ll understand why ham was Christmas dinner of choice, rather than turkey.
It was a big ham, not massive, but definitely came with built in leftovers. The bone with some meat is in the freezer for some split pea soup or ham & potato soup at a later date, and there is a big baggie of ham in the fridge, just waiting to be eaten. Ham sandwiches are good, but there’s only so many of those that can be eaten between 3 people and that still leaves a lot of ham in the baggie (have I mentioned it was a sizable ham?).
In the spirit of not having the same thing every meal for a week, I decided to make macaroni and cheese for supper and then I jazzed it up a skooch.
Beware, this is not calorie friendly, but it tastes really good…..terribly indulgent, but fairly low preparation requirements.
I got the original recipe and instructions from spendwithpennies.com, however, I changed the instructions.
- 2.5 cups of pasta – I used those swirly pastas because I thought I had macaroni and I didn’t
- 3 cups of water
- pinch of salt, more if you’re a rebel
- 1/2 tsp onion powder – could also add garlic (cannot believe I didn’t)
- 1 tsp dry mustard – if you don’t have mustard powder, add some Dijon or even yellow mustard, it gives it great dimension and tastes a bit blah without it
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1TB butter (or margarine)
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 3/4 cup milk, approximately
- 2.5 cups sharp (old) cheddar cheese
- 2 TB parmesan cheese, shredded or the stuff from the green container (Yay, Kraft)
Instructions: Dump the pasta, water and salt into your instant pot, put the lid on, make sure the valve is closed and set the time for 6 minutes (the pasta I used is quite dense, so I set it for 7 minutes). The original recipe calls for the spices to be added here, but I don’t as I drain the water when done.
When done, quick release the valve. It may spit starchy pasta water everywhere so be careful and hold a dishcloth above it if you are concerned about the mess. I don’t worry about it, the fallout area isn’t too big.
Once the release is done, open the Instant Pot and drain the pasta. The original recipe says not to, but I find there’s a whole lot of water left and that doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t drain it and let it drip, I just dump it in a colander and then dump it back into the Instant Pot.
Turn the sauté function on low, and add the spices, cheeses and some of the milk and mix, mix, mix until you get a gooey cheese sauce. Add more milk if you need to, to get the consistency you like.
Now here is where I veered off the beaten path…..I added 2 cups of chopped ham and 2 cups of chopped leftover vegetables from Christmas dinner. You could add more or less, you could add one or the other, you could add chicken, you could add sausage – whatever makes you happy. Because I did this, and they were still cold from the fridge, my cheese didn’t melt very well, so I put the Instant Pot on “keep warm”, popped the lid back on and left it for 10 minutes. I find the sauté function, even on low, tends to overcook the bottom (nice way to say burns it) and I don’t like using it for very long.
When my 10 minutes was up, I stirred and it was good!
Whenever I change a recipe or make up a meal, my clones are asked to review it – make again? Yes or No. Change anything? Yes or No. And there are no hurt feelings allowed on my part if it’s a “please never make that muck again” result. This, apparently, was a winner. To be fair, we’ve made this macaroni and cheese before, I just added veg & protein, but it seems that it worked and hey, only one dirty pot is a winner for me!