Programming note: My brother, Dan, agreed to be a guest blogger while I am down in Baltimore visiting for the weekend. This casserole was made completely from his memory and ended up really good! Enjoy!. Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m a man of wealth and taste.
Lindsay has kept a low profile for her dear old brother on Life and Kitchen, but was recently kind enough to allow me (Dan) to takeover and give this culinary blogging game a try.
While I generally prefer lighter, contemporary American and ethnic dishes (especially Middle Eastern, Thai, and Indian), only one recipe came to mind when considering what to cook for Life and Kitchen: Mom’s Ham Casserole for Dan. I don’t think it has an official name and the I mostly remember eating it when I was in college, but it left a lasting impression none the less. I think it might have origins in Mom trying to figure out what to do with all the left over Easter ham. Mom herself was a lover of green bean casserole, but she was always willing to make the below dish for a starving (existentially) college kid.
As I write this, the snow storm of the century is bearing down on Maryland and wreaking havoc and panic on the tender, warm-blooded souls of the not-quite South. A perfect time to reach back to our hearty Mid-Western roots, when saturated fat was an object of celebration and a snow day at home with the family was a good thing.
The Goods 1 Bag of egg noodles 2 Sticks butter 3 Cloves minced garlic ½ Medium minced onion 4 Cups heavy cream 1 ½ Cups mixed Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese 1 Ham steak (left over Honey Baked Ham is best) 1 Cup frozen peas ¼ Cup chopped kalamata olives 3 Cups Corn Flakes (not Frosted Flakes)
Boil a large pot of water and cook the egg noodles al dente. The noodles will finish cooking with the alfredo sauce in the oven. Drain and set aside.
At the same time you are boiling the noodles, begin the alfredo sauce.
In a large pan on medium heat, slowly melt 1 ½ sticks butter. Add the garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the butter. Slowly stir in four cups heavy cream and 1 ½ cups mixed parmesan, romano and asiago cheeses. Continue to occasionally stir the sauce over medium heat until the cheese is mostly melted (this will take longer than you’d expect).
Corn Flake Crust
While keeping an eye on your alfredo sauce above, melt ½ stick butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave (about 30 seconds). Pour in about 3 cups corn flakes and mix and mash them up really well.
Bringing it All Back Home
Begin assembling your remaining ingredients in a large casserole dish. Add the cooked noodles. Cube the ham steak and chop the kalamata olives and add those too. Pour in your peas and mix it all around. Then pour the cream mixture over top and mix to make sure that all of the noodles are coated. Top it off with the buttery crushed corn flakes and place in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Bake it covered (with foil or a spare baking sheet) for about 25 minutes. Take off the cover and continue to bake for about 10 minutes to crisp up the corn flakes on top.
I’d recommend letting the casserole cool for 10 minutes or so to allow everything to settle and avoid scorching your mouth. This will take some amount of will power, as the casserole will have filled your house with irresistible aromas.
Mom’s casserole reheats very well and can provide a few meals out of the refrigerator (though it’s never lasted long in my presence).
So kick back and banish those thoughts of swimsuit shopping and your doctor’s stern warnings for just a meal or two and reconnect with the soul nourishing food of our childhood.