RECIPE: Ham and Cheese Macaroni

macaroni cheese

Whether you have some leftover ham from a gammon joint that you want to use up or you want a simple but tasty meal to make, ham and cheese macaroni is a fantastic choice. The addition of ham to a classic macaroni cheese dish completely transforms this meal. It is a great budget option and really easy to make. Furthermore, it will probably be a hit with all the family. Here is an easy recipe for ham and cheese macaroni.

Ingredients for Ham and Cheese Macaroni

  • 18 oz/ 500 g dried pasta (macaroni or a similar variety of pasta)
  • 3 slices of leftover ham
  • 1 oz/ 25 g butter
  • 1 oz/ 25 g plain flour
  • 3 oz/ 80 g cheese for the sauce
  • 2 oz/ 50g cheese for the topping
  • 600 ml/ 1-pint milk
  • 2 tsp English mustard (optional)
  • White pepper and salt

How to Make Ham and Cheese Macaroni 

  1. Measure your ingredients first and preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.
  2. Cook the pasta in a saucepan according to pack instructions. I would remove a few minutes from the cooking time so it is al dente as the pasta will continue to cook in the cheese sauce. 
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. 
  4. Sieve the flour into the melted butter and stir.
  5. Cook for two minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk a little at a time continuously stirring until you have created a smooth sauce.
  7. Season with the salt and white pepper, add the mustard (optional) and stir through.
  8. Simmer gently over a low heat for approximately eight minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  10. Drain the pasta when cooked and transfer to either a large ovenproof dish or individual ovenproof dishes.
  11. Using a ladle, spoon over the cheese sauce evenly.
  12. Shred your ham and stir into the mixture.
  13. Sprinkle your remaining cheese over the top of the dishes. 
  14. Transfer to the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden and bubbling.
  15. If you have cooked one large macaroni cheese, spoon onto plates. If you have cooked individual portions, transfer the individual bowls to plates. 
  16. Serve with salad, vegetables, or garlic bread. 
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RECIPE: Lasagne

Lasagne_+_Grüner_Salat

Lasagne is one of the most popular Italian dishes to have reached other parts of the world. In homes across the globe, it is a favourite family meal. There are many variations on this traditional Italian dish, but this version is really easy to make and tastes delicious. Here is how to make lasagne.

Ingredients for Lasagne

  • 650 g minced beef
  • 12 sheets of lasagne (or enough to cover three layers of your oven dish)
  • 250g mature cheddar (or other strong flavoured cheese), grated
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 jar of white lasagne sauce (or homemade bechamel sauce)
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • A handful of torn fresh basil
  • 0.5-litre beef stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Lasagne

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the minced beef to the pan and cook for approximately seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mince is browned.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms and diced peppers. Cook for a further ten minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the tomatoes puree, basil, and chopped tomatoes.
  5. Stir through and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4. 
  7. Add the beef stock and simmer for another ten minutes.
  8. Layer the bottom of an oven proof dish with lasagne sheets.
  9. Using a ladle, spoon over half the lasagne mixture.
  10. Add another layer of lasagne sheets.
  11. Spoon over the remaining lasagne mixture.
  12. Add a final layer of lasagne sheets before covering with either your homemade bechamel sauce or a jar of white lasagne sauce. 
  13. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top. 
  14. Put the lasagne in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden.
  15. Divide into portions and serve with salad and garlic bread. 

 

10 Things to Make with Spinach

spinach

Spinach is a delicious ingredient that is packed with nutrients, meaning that including spinach in your diet will give you a variety of the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain good health. However, it is one of those ingredients with which people are often unsure of what they can do. There is a surprising number of ways to use this ingredient. Here are ten ways you can use spinach in your cooking.

  1. Spinach and potato soup– Spinach adds a delicious flavour to any soup but works particularly well with potatoes as it adds a rich flavour. Sautee the potatoes in butter before just covering with water until potatoes are cooked. Add the spinach and season with salt and black pepper. Blend to the consistency you prefer.
  2. Spinach and ricotta cannelloni– Add a mixture of ricotta and spinach to partially-cooked cannelloni tubes. Cover with grated cheese and bake in the oven.
  3. Spinach pasta– If you make your own pasta dough, you can add spinach to the mix. Not only will this turn your pasta green, thus making it more colourful, it will also add a little more taste.
  4. Spinach and mushroom ravioli– Fill ravioli parcels with a mixture of butter, chopped mushrooms, and butter. Serve with a sauce of your choice. I like a cream and mushroom sauce.
  5. Spinach and cream cheese stuffed chicken– Add a mixture of cream cheese and spinach to the centre of a chicken breast.
  6. Saag aloo– This is an Indian dish that combines spinach, potatoes, and spices. It can be eating as a vegetarian main or as a side dish.
  7. Eggs FlorentineEggs Florentine is a simple dish for breakfast, brunch or lunch. It is a toasted muffin topped with sautéed spinach and a poached egg. Delicious and really easy to make.
  8. Super spinach salad– Spinach is just as tasty raw as it is cooked. Add spinach leaves to other salad leaves, sliced red onions, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber and a dressing of your choice.
  9. Sweet potato and spinach curry– Sweet potatoes are a great ingredient to use in vegetarian dishes as they have an amazing flavour and are filling. Create a curry with sweet potatoes, spinach and the herbs and spices of your choice.
  10. Lamb and spinach curry– spinach and lamb work well together, so adding some spinach to a lamb curry is the perfect combination.