Asparagus-and-Ham Casserole

Yield: 6 servings - 1 cup each (easily halved)
Source: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002
Comments: Because of the delicate flavors in this dish, we preferred using a mild baked ham to a smoked one.
Comments from a PA Kitchen: This exceeded my expectations. I had ham frozen from Easter and some egg noodles that I used for another recipe that I wanted to use up, so this fit the bill and I was pleasantly surprised. I used yolk-less egg noodles and low fat ham. Tasty, creamy, needed just a touch of salt. Being that I'm not big into casseroles, maybe someone else would like it even better than I did, but it was solid. Quick to prepare and low pointage suitable even for lunch. Good!

INGREDIENTS:

1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
3 3/4 cups uncooked extra-broad egg noodles
2 1/2 cups (1 1/2-inch) sliced asparagus
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed ham (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1/2 cup.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus; cook 1 minute. Drain.
  4. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk until well-blended.
  5. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion; saute 4 minutes. Add milk mixture; cook until thick (about 4 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in juice.
  6. Combine the pasta mixture, milk mixture, ham, and parsley in large bowl; spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.
  7. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

H.U: 5 per serving
CALORIES 250 (26% from fat); FAT 7.1g (satfat 3.4g, monofat 2.4g, polyfat 0.7g); PROTEIN 16g; CARBOHYDRATE 30.9g; FIBER 2.7g; CHOLESTEROL 52mg; IRON 2.6mg; SODIUM 835mg; CALCIUM 114mg;

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