Skinny Ham, Spinach & Cheese Pasta Casserole



ham casserole
It’s so good!!! Actually surprising delicious. As I was working on it, I thought it would taste pretty good but it’s so much richer and yummier than I could have ever imagined…I can’t wait for you to try it! Each, very large serving has 262 calories, 5 grams of fat and 7 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook and Bake Time: 25 minutes


Ingredients for Pasta:

1⅓ cup dried whole grain penne pasta

1 (6 ounce) package fresh spinach

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup evaporated fat-free milk

1 cup fat-free cottage cheese or fat-free ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup (4 ounces) ham, diced (you could use turkey ham)


Ingredients for Topping:

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions.  Place spinach in a large colander and set in the sink. Pour cooked pasta over spinach in colander; drain well. Set aside.

3. Place onions on a microwave safe plate and cooked in the microwave for about 2 minutes until soft. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in nonstick pan. Add onions and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in flour, dry mustard, and pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Continue to cook and stir for 1 more minute.  Stir in cottage cheese and 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Mix until cheese is mostly melted. Gently stir in pasta/spinach and ham.

4. Add pasta mixture to baking pan. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until the top starts to brown.

5. Cool for at least 10 minutes to slightly set. Cut into 4 squares. Use a spatula to remove each serving.

6. This casserole freezes great.

Makes 4 servings (each serving, 1 slice)


Healthy Benefits
I love the fiber-rich whole grain pasta available in the supermarket today. For example, Barilla Whole Grain Penne Pasta contains 6 grams of fiber for a 2 ounce serving!

Spinach is considered to be one of the “super foods.” No wonder, it’s rich in iron, vitamins A, C and beta-carotene.


Shopping Tip


Trader Joe’s sells (8 oz) packages of Black Forest ham. It’s uncured and contains ‘no nitrates.’  In addition, most health food markets sell this type of ham. Or, use your favorite lean ham such as Oscar Meyer or even turkey ham.


Weight Watchers SmartPoints
7
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS
7

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (includes cheese topping)
262 calories, 5g fat, 2g sat. fat, 30mg chol, 25g prot, 31g carbs, 4g fiber, 627mg sodium, 10g sugar