Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ranch Ham 'n' Cheese Pasta

Nothing like posting everything for the month in one day, right?

As it's January and the time of year when inevitably our thoughts turn to eating healthier I've been going through my stash of "light" cookbooks. This is from a Taste of Home cookbook that I really like. I can easily find something for dinner that doesn't have a bunch of wild ingredients and that  actually tastes like something my family would eat every time I crack it open.

I've had a ham sitting in my fridge for a couple of weeks and decided it was time to use part and freeze the rest. This is an easy recipe that is deceivingly rich tasting. Obviously you could use full fat cheese and make it super yummy but it was very tasty using the reduced fat cheese. I can't get my family to get on board the whole wheat pasta train so I just figured NI using regular pasta but you could up the fiber a bit if you went the WW route.

Jeff wasn't a fan of the Parmesan on the top. Bri doesn't really care for pasta as a general rule so she was neutral and Randy and I both thought it was pretty darned tasty so we'll be doing it again. I'm thinking you could probably swap a packet of dry Ranch seasoning for all the dried spices but it was kind of fun to throw them all in and have them come back out Ranch flavored. I felt pretty mad scientisty. :)

Ranch Ham 'n' Cheese Pasta
adapted from Taste of Home
10 1 cup servings

1 16 oz pasta (I would recommend penne, twists, or bow ties)
1 c. ham, chopped
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. fat free milk
2 t. dried parsley flakes
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. salt free lemon pepper seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1/2 t. dried minced onion
1/2 t. dill weed
1/4 t. onion powder
1/8 t. black pepper
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 c. reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (opt)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. in a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 min or until thickened. Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. Add ham and pasta; cook and stir until heated through. Remove from the heat; stir in mexican cheese blend until melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Cal: 306, Fat: 9 g., Carb: 38 g., Fiber: 2 g., Protein: 20 g.

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