Friday, September 13, 2013

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Hams and Chicken

My little captain really enjoys eating Mac and Cheese, he can eat an entire plate all by himself, however most Mac and cheese served in the restaurant are rather plain - just macaroni and cheese, and some even uses cream cheese which is lower in nutrition in compared to natural cheddar or Parmesan cheese, so I seldom offer to my baby girl who is allergic to cream cheese.

After a recent visit to a fine dining restaurant where they served really nice baked macaroni and cheese, at quite an expensive price as expected, I decided to cook this at home since my little captain really enjoyed it to the very last bit. Besides, I can choose to use good quality cheese without fearing my girl will have another flare out after consuming cream cheese again.

When I told my little captain I'm making Mac and cheese for dinner, he was so excited and immediately offered to help up in the kitchen. He is a real helper nowadays, helped to chop up the hams, shred the cheese and prepare the cheese sauce. Hopefully one day soon my little girl is ready to join us too.

The macaroni and cheese with ham and chicken turned out really nice, especially when it's piping hot. My big guy volunteered to empty the remaining bits. :)

Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 25 min
Serving for: 2-3 little ones

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 table spoon of bread crumbs
100gm of good quality ham (I used honey glazed ham), finely chopped
1/2 cup of minced chicken, marinate with a pinch of salt and ground pepper

For Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2 table spoons of butter
1 table spoon of flour
1 cup of fresh milk

The Making:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 375°F.

2. Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt as per the suggested cooking time (around 5-7min), drain the excess water and run the pasta under running tap water for a few seconds.

3. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, stir fry the minced meat and chopped ham until the meat turns brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.

4. In a clean pot, melt the butter and add the flour on medium heat, stir constantly until the flour dissolved then add the milk. Bring it to a boil until the cheese sauce thicken.

5. Add the macaroni into the cheese sauce, follow by the ham and meat. Mix well. 

6. Transfer the macaroni to a carousel (I used a round baking tray instead), sprinkle with more shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 10 minutes and get ready for a really yummy Mac 'n cheese!

I love this baking pan I used for the baking the macaroni, as we finished the food the smiley Mickey will appear. :)

My little boy was so excited as he was busy chopping, shredding, stirring, scooping. I let him used a butter knife to cut the ham so I can leave him alone while I boiled the macaroni. I love the team work between us :)

Useful Tips!

• The Mac forms a thin layer of crust on top after baking, if your baby has soft teeth suggest to skip the last step. It taste great even if serve without baking it.

• I ran out of mozzarella cheese at the point of cooking, so I used a cup of cheddar cheese instead and it turned out well. You may add more cheese if you like it really creamy, but this is good enough for us. 

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