A Simple and Tasty Casserole Dish for Leftover Ham
Have no worries – there are plenty of ways to use up leftover ham in tasty main dish recipes, including this tasty casserole dish using cheese and cauliflower. The cauliflower makes for a nice (and healthy!) twist on a typical ham-and-potato dish while still having a similar consistency and style.
Everyone in the family should enjoy this recipe and there are lots of ways you can personalize it or adjust the seasonings to your own personal tastes. So please, read on and I hope you enjoy!
Cheesy Ham and Cauliflower Casserole
There are many adjustments you can make to this recipe depending on what you have on hand. I like the spicy kick of adding a hot long pepper or jalapeno pepper, but you can omit the peppers for a milder taste. You can also add some cayenne pepper powder when adjusting the seasonings for a really strong kick! Use whatever fresh mushrooms you have on hand – when I last made this recipe I had lots of odds and ends of oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms to use up, but you can use just one variety if you prefer.
As far as which cheese to use, again that is to your taste. I belong to a wonderful Cheese of the Month Club from Gourmet Cooking and Living, and had a lovely creamy soft sheep and cow cheese blend known as Robiola to use up. If you don’t have access to something quite so exotic, you can use a mixture of mascarpone and ricotta, or goat cheese blended with mozzarella – use your imagination and try for a nice mixture of tangy and soft textures. In a pinch, even a good quality Monterey Jack and some cream cheese would suffice.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 1 hour
- 2 cups diced cooked ham
- 1 head cauliflower cut into flowerets
- 1/2 minced yellow onion
- 1 minced jalapeno or long hot pepper
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk (fat free to whole as per your choice)
- 8 oz. soft cheese – cut into cubes
- Salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup panko or other breadcrumbs
Bring a pot of salted water to boil for cooking cauliflower. When boiling, add florets and cook until tender, approximately 8 minutes. Test regularly so as not to overcook the cauliflower; it should be tender but not mushy and soft. (You could also steam the cauliflower to keep in more of the flavor and nutrients.)
Meanwhile prepare other ingredients – mince onions and pepper, slice mushrooms, cube ham and cheese. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare breadcrumbs if not using pre-prepared panko breadcrumbs.
Saute onion in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add minced hot pepper as onion is just beginning to turn tender; cook an additional minute. Then add mushrooms and saute for 1 more minute, stirring regularly.
Add flour to onion, pepper and mushroom mixture and coat evenly. Add in milk and cook until mixture is bubbly and thickening, approximately 2 minutes.
Grease a 2-Quart casserole with remaining tablespoon of butter. When ready, mix together the cooked cauliflower, ham, cheese, and sauteed onion-pepper-mushroom-flour-milk mixture.
Season with salt and pepper as desired. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, covered.
Remove cover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until breadcrumb topping is browned and toasted.
Serve and enjoy!