During a busy week the last thing that I feel like doing is meal planning and grocery shopping. Life gets hectic and we crave a way to simplify our schedules. Instead of trying to prepare big, square meals during busy weeks, I try to make one-dish meals that incorporate all of the food groups. They can be healthy, fast and prepared in advance. This Creamy Ham and Spaghetti Casserole recipe is a favorite of mine. It’s simple, delicious and kid-friendly.
Creamy Ham and Spaghetti Casserole
· ¾ box of Barilla Plus spaghetti (Dreamfields is also recommended)
· 4 tablespoons smart balance butter(sticks)
· 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, chopped small
· 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
· 1 1/2 cups minced lean low-sodium ham (you can splurge and use pancetta)
· ½ sweet onion, finely chopped
· 4 tablespoons organic unbleached all purpose flour
· 2 cups chicken broth
· 2 tablespoons sherry
· Dash fresh grated nutmeg (nutmeg is strong, just a dash for flavor)
· 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
· Dash fresh ground pepper
· 1/2 cup fat-free half and half (this works beautifully in this dish to cut calories)
· 1 cup (about 3 ounces) fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
· 1 cup fresh English peas
Into the oven…
- ¾ box of Barilla Plus spaghetti Dreamfields is also recommended
- 4 tablespoons smart balance butter sticks
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms chopped small
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 cups minced lean low-sodium ham you can splurge and use pancetta
- ½ sweet onion finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons organic unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- Dash fresh grated nutmeg nutmeg is strong, just a dash for flavor
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Dash fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup fat-free half and half this works beautifully in this dish to cut calories
- 1 cup about 3 ounces fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 cup fresh English peas
- Spray a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water following the package directions.
- Rinse, drain and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms, ham, onion, peas, and parsley.
- Saute, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and slightly caramelized (do not brown).
- Stir in flour until blended.
- Add chicken broth, sherry, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Cook, stirring, until thickened.
- Stir in fat-free half-and-half and half of the cheese.
- Cook until sauce is creamy and all cheese is melted.
- Add the pasta and stir to blend.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.