2013 – Gluten Free Living
Healthy Ham, Swiss Cheese and Veggie Bake is wonderful. It’s made with diced ham, gluten free noodles, two different packages of frozen stir-fry blend vegetables, garlic, onions and leeks in a delicious Swiss cheese sauce seasoned with dill weed, parsley, thyme, and marjoram. The taste is excellent (my husband ate two HUGE servings the night I served this recipe), especially since the Swiss cheese infuses lot’s of savory flavor into the dish. While this casserole does have several steps, it’s really not too difficult. You can melt more Swiss cheese on the top the last five minutes of baking or just sprinkle it on individual servings like I did. Or you can add buttered bread crumbs on top if you like, but I didn’t have any gluten free bread crumbs and since I was trying to keep the dish gluten free I didn’t add anything more except fresh, torn parsley. Healthy Ham, Swiss Cheese and Veggie Bake is amazing!
I love my Creamy Ham, Veggies and Noodle Bake recipe, but I wanted to create a healthier version made with more natural ingredients and leaving out the canned soups that are so full of killer ingredients like preservatives and MSG which increases your appetite five-fold! I also wanted a completely different overall taste then that recipe. I saw that I had a bunch of diced ham, lots of Swiss cheese, and frozen veggies that I really wanted to clear out of my freezers, so I came up with this flavor combination that’s not only tasty, but has a lot more pure, clean ingredients in the recipe. I had plenty of gluten free noodles on hand so I chose to use gluten free flour as well to make the sauce for my gluten free followers.
Ham and Swiss cheese not only work well on sandwiches, but they work together very well in casseroles! So if you’re looking for healthier main dish options for your family then consider this one some time. I really liked the combination of stir-fry type veggies I used for this dish as they provided a lot of different textures and shapes, but almost any kind of frozen veggie will work. For that matter, if you’re trying to use up garden produce almost any kind will work, too. If you like the comfort food from tasty casseroles, but prefer a more nourishing, gluten free option, give Healthy Ham, Swiss Cheese and Veggie Bake a try sometime soon. But beware! Your family may want two HUGE servings each like my husband did!
Healthy Ham, Swiss Cheese and Veggie Bake is a delightful main dish entree and a complete meal in itself! This healthy version of ham and veggies is gluten free and uses more natural ingredients than those made with canned soups and some of the other processed foods and fillers used in many casseroles.
If you prefer you can add more Swiss cheese on top of the casserole the last five minutes of baking time, or add buttered gluten free bread crumbs.
I chose to add the extra Swiss cheese to individual portions.
Here’s what I did.
These are the ingredients I used. (Or most of them. I almost invariably either forget one or two, or decide to add something else!) The first thing I do is get the noodles boiling. While noodles are boiling (or water is getting hot) prepare sauce.
Meanwhile, place butter in a cast iron skillet over low to medium heat and melt. Add diced red onions.
Add sliced leeks and saute a few minutes. Then add minced garlic.
I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free all-purpose flour for this recipe. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Here the gluten free flour is incorporated.
Add half-and-half cream about 1/4 cup at a time and stir or whisk well to incorporate. Keep stirring and adding cream until all the cream is added.
Add Swiss cheese. Stir to combine.
I used gluten free noodles. Bring noodles in a saucepan filled with water to a boil according to package directions, but only boil al dente. The noodles will cook a little more when they are baked in the oven. If you cook the noodles the full length of time they will tear apart easily (whether you use gluten free or wheat). After the noodles were cooked al dente, I drained them and set them aside until I was ready for them.
Add the herbs: salt, pepper, dill weed, marjoram and thyme.
Add the first package of frozen veggies. This one had sugar snap peas, red pepper strips, onions, and a few other things.
The next package had corn, diced red pepper, broccoli and a few other things.
Stir to combine.
Now add your ham.
Add torn, fresh parsley.
Now add your cooked, gluten free noodles.
Stir to combine.
Pour into a 9×13″ glass baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes until the casserole is heated through and bubbles appear on the surface. (If you fail to cover the casserole the noodles harden).
Here the casserole is done. If you want to add another cup of Swiss cheese on top and bake a few more minutes until cheese melts, you can do that.
To serve: Spoon a large serving of Healthy Ham, Swiss Cheese and Veggie Bake onto your plate and garnish with Swiss cheese and more freshly, torn parsley, as desired.
This close up shows the texture of the dish. I garnished the casserole with fresh, torn parsley.
I used gluten free noodles.
Recommendation: DON’T use gluten free noodles made with corn. They turn out horrible! Use gluten free noodles made with rice as the predominate ingredient. Those always turn out well. Gluten free noodles made with corn are hard, crunchy, break apart–they just don’t cook well or cool well for pasta salads. This is the voice of experience talking!!! Avoid them like the plague!
The best way to cook rice noodles is to add them to boiling water and cook 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the noodles to stay in the hot water about 15-17 more minutes. The noodles will be cooked through that way.
Here’s the recipe.
HEALTHY HAM, SWISS CHEESE AND VEGGIE BAKE
(My own concoction)
- 8-oz. [url href=”http://www.deboles.com/” target=”_blank” title=”deboles pasta”]DeBoles[/url] gluten free rice and golden flax spirals, cooked and drained (just don’t use corn noodles)
- 12-oz. diced ham
- 8-oz. shredded Swiss cheese
- 16-oz. pkg. frozen broccoli, corn & red peppers
- 16-oz. pkg. frozen sugar snap stir fry
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 2 extra large garlic cloves, minced or about 4-5 regular-sized cloves of garlic
- 1 stick butter
- ½ cup [url href=”http://www.bobsredmill.com/” target=”_blank” title=”bob’s red mill”]Bob’s Red Mill[/url] gluten free flour
- 3 cups half-and-half cream
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ¾ tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dill weed
- 1 tsp. marjoram
- 1 tsp. thyme
- ½ cup fresh torn parsley
- fresh, torn parsley for garnish
- Bring noodles to a boil and cook al dente – about two minutes less than the amount given.
- Meanwhile, make sauce.
- Melt butter in cast-iron Dutch oven.
- Add diced onion and leeks and sauté a few minutes.
- Add minced garlic and sauté a few minutes more.
- Whisk in gluten free flour.
- Then begin adding cream about ¼ cup at a time until all the cream is incorporated.
- Stir in Swiss cheese, then add salt, pepper, dill weed, marjoram, and thyme.
- Then stir in the two packages of frozen, uncooked veggies.
- Stir in ham, parsley, and noodles.
- Place in a 9×13” glass baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° about 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
- Garnish with more parsley and Swiss cheese, as desired.
We really liked the addition of extra Swiss cheese on top of the casserole.
Eat, drink, and be merry! Here’s another close up so you can see the texture of all the veggies in the delicious Swiss cheese sauce. If you serve the casserole immediately, the Swiss cheese will melt on its own. Otherwise, if you’re not going to serve the casserole immediately, you may want to add the Swiss cheese and bake 5 more minutes.
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