This Fancy Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Ham is a complete meal in one. Plenty of white and sharp cheddar cheese and a crispy, bread crumb topping make this a delectable meal that everyone in the family will enjoy.
No more box mac and cheese please! My 4-year-old daughter is obsessed with Panera’s Mac and Cheese. It is one of the few meals she requests for dinner, so I wanted to make something at home that would have a bit of extra heartiness from the ham and some veggies for a bit of green. Feel free to customize your cheesy experience by substituting bacon or chicken as well. The yummy possibilities are just endless when you have a good base recipe.
The secret to good mac and cheese is obviously plenty of cheese (if in doubt always add more). I added an extra layer of cheddar on top of the cheesy pasta like I’m making a lasagna…more cheese please! A bit of paprika and Dijon mustard give the sauce extra flavor. I love a Parmesan and Panko bread crumb topping for added crispiness. I could eat this topping by itself! Top it with a layer of fresh parsley for maximum enjoyment.
I don’t know if I want chocolate or vodka right now, so why not have both with a Salted Caramel Chocolate Martini? It has to be noon somewhere! I spent most of this week freaking out over the fact that my baby is starting preschool. The time just goes by way too fast! It seems like only yesterday she was my photography assistant; grabbing items off the table as I frantically try and snap them before the whole thing collapses to hell. I literally, became a blubbering idiot when I picked her up from school for the first time yesterday. Hopefully, I’m able to get a better blog routine going with the end of summer.
Hope you all like this Fancy Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Ham as much as we do! It makes great leftovers for the busy week.
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I NEED A COCKTAIL ALREADY!
Plenty of cheddar cheese and a Parmesan and Panko bread crumb topping makes this one fancy Mac and Cheese recipe!
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni noodles
- 1 lb. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 oz. white cheddar cheese; shredded
- 1.5 lbs. cooked ham; cubed
- 3 c. broccoli florets
- 1/3 c. yellow onion; finely diced
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 3 c. whole milk
- 1/3 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 c. Panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 c. Parmesan
- 2/3+2 c./tbsp. butter
- salt and pepper
- freshly chopped parsley
Prepare macaroni noodles according to package; drain and set aside.
In a skillet on medium heat; melt 1/3 c. butter and add onions. Saute until they start to become translucent. Add minced garlic, salt and pepper; saute until fragrant. Add ham; stir until heated.
In the same pot used to boil the noodles on medium/high heat; melt 2 tbsp. of butter. In a large measuring cup or bowl; whisk flour into the milk until combined. Add flour to melted butter. Continue whisking until mixture thickens. Once thickened, add half of sharp cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese. Stir continuously until melted. Add paprika and Dijon; salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined.
Add noodles (I leave out around a half cup) and skillet mixture; lightly stir until combined. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 13x9 pan with butter.
Combine Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan. Melt 1/3 c. butter in a skillet on medium/high heat. Add bread crumb mixture, salted and pepper to taste and stir until lightly browned. Remove from heat.
Add half of the noodle mixture to the baking pan. Sprinkle half of the 8 oz. bag of sharp cheddar cheese. Top with the remaining half of noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Sprinkle top with bread crumb mixture and fresh parsley.
Bake for around 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Broil for the last minute of cooking time.