This kid-friendly Creamy Shells and Ham Casserole has pasta coated in a creamy sauce plus ham and spinach that adds tons of flavor. A great way to use up leftover holiday ham!
And I’m hoping that you all have a bunch of leftover ham in the fridge, begging to be turned into something new. I have quite a few leftover ham recipes waiting to be posted (that’s what happens when your small family has ham 3 times in one month!!) I’m only sharing one of them here today, so I’m hoping that you’ll be freezing some of that ham for another time because I’ve got more recipes coming!!
This ham casserole is almost like a twist on a baked mac and cheese – at least that’s what I told my kids. 🙂 They actually loved the shell pasta – it was a great switch up from the normal pasta we use – and mixing spinach in through the pasta and cheese is a great way to get a veggie in your kids. My favorite part is that part of the creaminess comes from a garlic and herb cheese spread. My favorite it Boursin. I love that stuff!!
If you don’t have leftover ham, you can always buy a ham steak at the grocery store. Or substitute in leftover chicken, although I love the flavor that ham brings. This Creamy Shells and Ham Casserole makes a great weeknight dinner that the whole family will love!
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- ½ lb medium pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 8 oz spinach, roughly chopped or torn
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups milk
- dash of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1½ oz soft garlic and herb cheese
- 1½ cups cubed cooked ham
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until very soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted, an addition 1-2 minutes.
- While the onions are cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, then season with salt and pepper. Add a dash of nutmeg and the Dijon mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking very frequently. Continue to cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the ricotta and garlic and herb cheese.
- Stir the cheese sauce into the pot with the shells. Add in the onion/spinach mixture and the cubed ham and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
- Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.
More Recipes Using Leftover Ham: