Thursday, May 5, 2011

Veggie Ham Casserole

Veggie Ham Casserole
Dorcas Annette Walker

The one thing I always enjoy after cooking a large meal for a holiday or company is the leftovers. While traveling around the United States I’ve actually run into some people who throw their leftovers into the garbage. Can you imagine? They would rather spend money going out to eat instead of eating nutritious leftovers. It never made a lick of sense to me. Living on the road for years with my husband traveling and having to eat out in restaurants day after day, I quickly became tired of restaurant food. I’d rather prepare and eat a homemade meal any day than go to a restaurant to eat. Especially with the high cost of food these days (not to mention all the people starving around the world, who would give anything for one good meal) saving and the utilization of leftovers makes good economic sense. Here in America we have been richly blessed with an abundance of food that I’m afraid is too often taken for granted. Being raised by a Pennsylvania Dutch father in a poor family food was not something that was wasted. Frozen leftovers can quickly be heated up in the microwave for a later or used as a base to make a brand new meal. Some leftovers actually taste better the second time around giving the ingredients a chance to marinate and become more favorable. After spending hours in a kitchen cooking up a big meal, I always look forward to using leftovers the next few days giving me a chance for relaxation away from time cooking in the kitchen.

Our family tradition over the years has been that I always cook up a big turkey for Thanksgiving and then a large ham for Easter. I freeze the larger leftover slices of ham for another meal and then use the small pieces of meat for something like in my Veggie Ham Casserole. Since I usually make up a batch of cheese and macaroni with a big meal along with a couple kinds of vegetables making a Veggie Ham Casserole is a snap afterwards and uses up a couple different leftovers at the same time presented in a different manner. You can substitute the vegetables or use scalloped potatoes in place of cheese and macaroni, replace the yogurt with milk, bake the ingredients, and top with a bread or cracker crumb topping for a nifty casserole. No matter how you make up a Veggie Ham Casserole it will be a tasty, filling, colorful, quick, and nutritious meal. Preparation time for my Veggie Ham Casserole is ten to fifteen minutes and this recipe serves five.

Veggie Ham Casserole

3 c prepared cheese and macaroni
1 c cooked mixed vegetables drained
1 c chopped cooked ham
½ c plain yogurt
¼ c parmesan cheese

Mix the cheese and macaroni, vegetables, and ham with the yogurt in a microwavable dish. Sprinkle with cheese and microwave on high for five minutes or so until thoroughly heated through. Serve hot with a tossed salad!

Weekly tip: Crusty bread or cracker toppings can be made by crumbling the bread or crackers into small pieces, layering on top of the casserole, and then pouring a stick of melted margarine over them before baking. You can also substitute a stuffing mix for the bread!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:


Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Use the cooked pasta water to make your cheese and mac sauce making for a creamier and silkier results!

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Chicken can be substituted for the ham as well.