Feeding the College Ministry: Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Marina’s Kitchen Table, Feeding the College Ministry
Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Last night I cooked for our College Ministry from church, at the 316 building (a local car lot that’s opened their spare converted space - made to be like a coffee house - doors after-hours for us to meet in). I always try to make it a home-made meal, warm and yummy and stick-to-your-ribs good. It happens that most of these kids are college athletes at our local state college, so they’re not afraid to eat.

We have a lot of people at our church who recognize how pivotal these college years can be to a young adults faith, so we are blessed to have a great group of volunteers!

One dish that I’ve always had success with feeding people of any age is an adaptation of my mom’s macaroni and cheese, with ham in it. I’ve cooked it at camp, for missions training sessions of adults, and raised my kids on it. It’s a favorite! Last night we served it up with a salad, and one of the other volunteers brought a pot of home canned green beans with new potatoes in them. With a white Bundt cake (from another volunteer!) and a pan of brownies with walnuts in them, it made for a very home-y meal!

This is one meal I don’t use a recipe for, so the estimates are in the recipe below.  As with anything homemade, you’re free to adjust this to your taste, but trust me on this, and don’t leave out the tomato sauce!


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Roaster-sized Recipe
Marina’s Mac ‘n Cheese
(Family sized recipe follows)

5 boxes of large elbow macaroni
about 2/3 of the ham off a spiral sliced ham (cut in cubes and trimmed of the fatty edges)
2 sticks butter
nearly a whole 30 Oz (?) can of tomato sauce
4 lbs shredded Colby jack cheese
pepper

I boiled the macaroni and cut up ham into cubes ahead of time.

In a very large pot, melt the butter and heat up the ham in it until it’s heated through. It will make the ham release a lot of it’s water, but don’t pour it out. Pour the tomato sauce into the ham mixture. Add pepper (maybe a half teaspoon, but if you’re serving little kids you could leave it out).

Grease the bottom of the roasting pan, with butter or whatever you prefer (spray?).

Pour about a third of the elbow macaroni into the roaster pan. Add 1/3 of the ham mixture, stir to combine and coat the macaroni. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese.

Then pour the rest of the macaroni into the HAM POT, stirring to coat. Put 1/2 of the mixture over the cheese in roaster, layer cheese on top, and repeat with the last of the macaroni/ham mixture and grated cheese.

I put the roasting pan in a 325 oven for 1 hour to bake thoroughly, because of time restraints, but you could just use the roaster base to bake if you had more time. I don’t think the roaster would make it crispy on top(?).

After baking I placed in the roaster base on lowest temp to keep it warm while transporting and serving.

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Family sized recipe

1 box large elbow macaroni
2 cups ham, cubed
1 small can tomato sauce (3 or 4 Oz?)
1/2 - 1 stick butter (to taste)
Pepper to taste
About 2 cups grated Colby jack cheese (or more if you like it super cheesy)

Boil macaroni, drain into colander.
Use same pot to melt butter, heat ham, add sauce and pepper.

Add macaroni back to pot and mix to distribute ingredients evenly.

I then add the cheese, reserving some for the top of pan (my cookware can go into a low temp oven), but my mom would layer in a buttered 9x13 pan, making 2 layers and ending with cheese. Bake at 325 until cheese is melt or crispy on top.

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