One of the worst traits of Filipinos is overdoing everything during the holiday season. Spending, eating, partying… I try not to. Not always easy but being conscious about excesses helps. While we do enjoy the special food and delicacies that go with the season, we exert efforts not to buy too much of anything. There are items though that can only be bought in certain quantities. Like ham. We have not bought a whole leg of ham in years.
Because we know we cannot properly consume it. Though it looks pretty on the dinner table, it gets dry as the days pass. So we buy ham by the kilo. We look for the best kind but we only buy in reasonable amounts. Hence, if we do have leftovers, they are never unmanageable. So we had some leftover scraps of ham. If you do, too, here’s a good way to make use of them. Chopped smoked ham, sliced button mushrooms, carrots, and sweet peas in a rich cream of mushroom soup make up the sauce for this baked macaroni dish.
Saute the chopped onion until soft. Add the ham. Cook until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and cook for about a minute. Add the carrots and peas. Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cream of mushroom soup. If using the powdered variety, pour only 1-1/2 c. of broth into the saucepan and use the remaining cup of broth to dissolve the soup. If using canned mushroom soup, use only 1 c. of broth. Cook, stirring, until well blended and the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn off the heat and add the parsley. Stir. Add the cooked macaroni and toss well. Transfer to a baking dish. Garnish with the grated cheese. Cover with foil. Punch a few holes to let the steam out. Baked in a moderately hot oven, about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and let stand for 10 minutes before serving with garlic-buttered toast.