When we were growing up, Mom would always make our favorite dinner on our birthday. I asked for this…every time. Even for Brennan, this is a dish that says LOVE like no other. = )
As you can imagine, I was very eager to make this for Tom when we were first married. Armed with step-by-step instructions from Mom, I headed to the store for the ingredients. I got home and busily started preparing the meal. I could hardly wait until he tasted it.
The first step was to dice two thick slices of ham I had gotten from the butcher into bite-sized pieces. Since the next step would take about 20 minutes, I thought I should put the ham back in the fridge to keep cold until I needed it. I put the water on for the noodles, then chopped and began to sauté the celery and onions for the sauce. So far, so good.
By the time the noodles were done, the sauce was almost ready. I drained and placed them carefully in my brand new casserole dish. Soon, the sauce was done and I poured it over all the noodles. It smelled just like Mom's and the consistency was perfect! I was so pleased with myself.
I toasted and cubed the bread for the topping, drizzled it with melted margarine and placed it in the oven. I had talked so much about this meal, Tom was quite anxious to try it. Soon, 30 minutes had passed and it was time.
"...and what’s this called again?"
Hope you enjoy (and don't YOU forget the ham!)
Mom's Ham & Noodle Casserole
10 ounces of noodles (I use No Yolks) – cooked and drained
1-2 Cups of Ham (I use 1 pkg of John Morrell diced ham (drained) looks like about 1 ½ cups) OR get two thick slices (¼”) of lean ham from the deli and cube it
1 cup celery (finely chopped)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
¼ + 1 Tablespoon Margarine or Butter (I use I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter – Light)
2 cups of milk
8-10 Slices of American Cheese (torn into small pieces)
(I use Kraft 2 % singles but Land O Lakes tastes better)
8 slices whole wheat toast (cubed)
Saute celery and onion in ¼ cup margarine or butter until nearly transparent, add in flour and stir coating celery and onions. Add in milk slowly, stirring often until it begins to thicken. (Skim takes quite a while longer to thicken than 2 % or whole milk.) When sauce begins to thicken, add in cheese, stirring until all melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a casserole dish sprayed with Pam, spread noodles. Sprinkle ham on top. Pour sauce mixture over all and stir to coat evenly. Top with cubed toast. Melt 1 Tablespoons of butter or margarine and lightly drizzle over toast. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.