While I've only recently expanded my culinary world to include pork tenderloin and pulled pork, the ham sandwich has always been a favorite of mine - I love me some deli ham. This Ranch Ham 'N' Cheese Pasta caught my eye because it uses ham, and I knew that Joe would like it because he is a fan of anything that includes sour cream. I found this recipe in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine. I bought the magazine on a whim a few years ago and still make recipes from it often. The recipes are quick, low-fat and unique - I never would have thought the combination of flavors in this pasta would work, but they do! This pasta is fantastic - creamy and cheesy with a fantastic tangy taste. Plus, it came together in about 20 minutes, which was an added bonus!
I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I used only 8 ounces of pasta since just Joe and I were eating this. However I left all the other measurements the same and felt I still had a perfect pasta to sauce ratio. I left out the dill because I didn't have any, and also left out the Parmesan cheese because I felt the pasta just didn't need it.
Ranch Ham 'N' Cheese Pasta
1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. Add ham and pasta; cook and stir until heated through. Remove from the heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 10 servings.
Nutritional Analysis: 1 cup equals 306 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 612 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein.