This is such a wonderful fall meal. Not that it's quite fall here yet. . .but it's getting there! and it's chock full of cheese. I can't deny something like that! It's an easy quick meal, that fill your belly. And has things are easily found in the grocery store--of in your fridge, depending on how you are (I don't keep celery on hand, everything else though, I always have!)
Here's what we've got--Flour, milk, butter (to make our white sauce) ham, cheese (of course!) potatoes, carrots, and celery. Simple!
First thing you want to do is start boiling two cups of water. You want the water boiling before you put your veggies into it.
Chop up your potatoes. You going to want two cups. If you cut them too big, they won't cook all the way through. So perhaps you want diced potatoes. and I don't measure things. Sorry, that's just how I was taught to cook! Blame my dad. I usually do about 2 medium sized potatoes.
Chop--er, I mean, dice up your celery. You want about 1/2 cup. I doubled the recipe this time, since Captain Jax and I can eat pretty much the whole pot in one sitting. I wanted leftovers. This was about 3-4 stalks. Which in most grocery stores, you buy by the stalk! It's wonderful for me, because we don't eat celery except for in soups. It is a bit more expensive than buying a whole bag of it, but if you're going to end up throwing away most of it. . .it's worth it.
Dice up your carrots next, you'll want about 1/2 cup of those too. I used baby carrots, because that's what I have on hand. And use a good knife. I went through 3 before I remembered I have a pampered chef paring knife. Then my life was better.
Add those to the boiling water, and turn it down to a simmer. Cover it up, and let it do it's thing for about 10 mintes. Oh yeah, add your seasonings as well. You're not going to drain anything off either. While they're hanging out, let's get started on the white sauce. This white sauce is my new favorite way to make white sauce. It's all done in the microwave! No melting butter on the stove, and then trying not to burn the flour. I've never had a problem with making a white sauce in the microwave. You just melt your butter, then whisk in the flour and milk. Microwave it for 90 seconds, stir, then microwave it again. You do this step about 2-3 times, until the sauce it thickened, like a white sauce should be.
While the sauce is cooking, and the veggies are simmering (speaking of which, go give those a stir and see how they're doing) go ahead and grate up a BIG pile of cheese, and cube up some ham. The ham is optional. I leave it out all the time (mostly because I forget to buy it at the store)
Once your sauce is thickened, you want to add ALL the cheese.
Mmm, it's hard for me not to eat the cheese when I reach this point. I love cheese. Just stir all that in until the cheese is melted. Don't worry, it won't take too long, that sauce has been cooking for a while now!
Then add your ham and stir all that in.
Yum! I could eat this all by itself! but it's better mixed with the veggies. Feel free to stick your finger in and try a bit. I won't tell.
Add your cheese mixture to your veggies and let everything heat through! Don't boil it though, I think that might cause some seperation, and we don't want that.
Ladle into your bowls, and enjoy! By the way, do you like my hot pads? Best hotpads I've EVER used. My grandma-in-law made them for us, and we use the ALL the time. I love them!
2 cups boiling water
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
3-4 cups grated cheese
1/2 cup cubed ham
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes the water, veggies, and seasonings. Don't drain! While the veggies are simmering, make a white sauce of the melted butter, flour, and milk. Combine these and cook in microwave for 90 second. Stir and repeat 2-3 times, until the sauce is thick. Add cheese, let melt, add ham, and stir into veggies. Heat through, but don't boil. Serves about 4.
Linked up to: lifeasmom.com