Tonight’s dinner was such a hit, the boys said to write down what I did differently so I can recreate it!  One part I don’t want to recreate is having a stove that only has one working burner (a small one) and an oven (no broiler).  I didn’t really know that some of the minor changes I made would make it so much better, so I didn’t take pictures as I went along.  It was, however, pretty, so I took a picture of a serving of the finished product.

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1 lb. elbow macaroni

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. seasoned salt

1 8 oz. container vegan or lactose free cream cheese

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

1 C. finely chopped turkey ham

4 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 c. leftover roasted (charred) broccoli, finely chopped

1 pouch vegan mozzarella style shreds

Cook elbow macaroni.  I use the Alton Brown method of putting the pasta in a large pan with enough cool water to cover it by about an inch.  Stir in minced garlic and seasoned salt.  Bring to a boil and stir occasionally.  Lower the heat to medium low and the pasta basically becomes rehydrated instead of boiled.  Because I’m dealing with only one burner, once the pasta was cooked, I placed it in a 13 x 9 lasagna dish sprayed with coconut oil.  Rather than draining off all the fabulous flavored pasta water, I spooned approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup into the baking dish with the pasta.

Next, I cooked the onion and ham in butter and oil with all the seasonings over low heat for about 25 minutes.  I turned it up at the end, and added in the chopped charred broccoli.   Add in cream cheese and melt through.

Pour over noodles and mix in.  Top with shreds and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

I’m not sure what made this better than usual.  Maybe the pasta was perfectly cooked and had just enough pasta water?  Maybe the charred flavor of the broccoli added a special touch.  Whatever it was, I’m going to try to recreate this to see if it can be done!

Oh, and this was the last meal I’m preparing on my old on its last legs stove.  Tomorrow my son is installing the stove I always wanted.  It’s a combination Birthday/Mother’s Day present.  I can’t wait!

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