Easy Ham & Broccoli Bake

We took the family to my parents’ house for Easter again this year.  They had bought such a huge ham that we came home with a bunch of leftovers, which was great, because the refrigerator was rather bare.

We pulled into town about an hour before dinner time, so I needed to figure something out – and fast!  And that’s when operation clean out the refrigerator began!

Ham?  Mostly gone carton of cream? About to expire cream cheese?  Partial boxes of random pasta – bring it on!

What started off as a bunch of random ingredients that needed to get out of the fridge turned in to an awesome meal!  The dish wasn’t saucy at all, but it was super flavorful and definitely something I’d make again…even if I didn’t have to clear out the fridge!

Recipe Note:
-I had several open, partial boxes of pasta in my pantry, so I used an assortment in this recipe.
-The heavy cream/milk combination can be substituted with 1 cup light cream or half & half

Ham & Broccoli Bake
Adapted from Why Am I Not Skinny?

12 oz dry pasta
1 large crown broccoli, cut into small florets
12 oz cooked ham, cut into small bites (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup skim milk
2 oz cream cheese
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or ½ tbsp dried basil)
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped (or a pinch dried chives)
½ tsp black pepper
Salt, if needed
½ cup sharp cheddar, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook to al dente.  About 3 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli, continue cooking until the pasta is done and the broccoli is vibrant and crisp-tender.  Drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, make the sauce.  Place the cream, milk, cream cheese, and tomato paste in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk until smooth, without coming to a full boil.  Once the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, stir in the herbs and pepper.

Pour the sauce over pasta.  Add the ham and stir to combine.

Pour the pasta mixture into a greased baking dish and top with shredded cheese.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serves 6-8