Monday, April 13, 2020

Ham and Pineapple Casserole

   My Mom used to say you get a lot of bang for your buck when you  buy a ham because you can serve it at any meal - breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Of course it's great as a fabulous Holiday Ham dinner, but what do you do with al the leftover ham? Well, you have ham sandwiches, you dice it and throw it into an omelette or a quiche, or you add it to a casserole!
 This casserole uses the classic pairing of ham and pineapple, and bakes it together with pasta and a creamy sauce. It's simple to throw together and you go vary it to your heart's content.
 So give this one a try the next time you have a little leftover ham. It's a great "round two" recipe to make sure you get the most bang for your buck!

1 lb ziti, or other cut pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
2 cups diced ham
1 8oz block of cream cheese
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
2 tbs butter, melted

Heat oven to 350ºF.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to directions until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, saute the chopped onions and peppers in a little oil. Saute until softened. Add diced ham. Continue to saute for a minute or two. Add cream cheese and milk. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. When pasta is cooked, add to saute pan along with pineapple. (or use a big bowl to better facilitate this). Toss everything well to coat with sauce. Place in a large casserole dish.
In a small bowl, melt butter. mix with crushed crackers. Lightly sprinkle your buttered cracker crumbs over casserole. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

To make sure your sauce is flavorful, you definitely want to give it a taste before you add the pasta to it. You could even add some sliced scallions to it, just to bump up the fresh flavor a bit.
Instead of using Ritz crackers, use whatever kind of crackers you like! You could also use seasoned bread crumbs or even crushed potato chips.

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