Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ham and Swiss Casserole/ White Sauce

I made this for dinner on Sunday.  I'm not a huge fan of casseroles, but this one is good.  You start with a white sauce.  My Mom taught me how to make a white sauce when I was probably 14.  White sauces are used all the time in cooking.  Growing up, we made it and then added a can of tuna and then put it on toast.  A basic white sauce is also used when you make the "cooked"frosting on an original Waldorf Red Cake (better known as a Red Velvet Cake).  Anyways, this is how you make a white sauce:  You take equal parts butter or margarine  and flour and then add milk.  Sounds easy, but it takes some practice.  The first dozen times I made it....LUMPY, LUMPY, LUMPY!  It's easy now, but it does take some practice.  First off I get all my ingredients ready because when the time comes, you need to dump them in fast.  So here's what you'll need.

2 C. cooked brown or white rice ( I use instant, so that's 1 cup uncooked)
10 oz. cubed ham (1 1/4 C)
4 oz shredded swiss cheese (1 C)
1 1/4 C. milk

1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

I don't put in the "optional" things because my kids don't like "things" in their food.....okay, who am I kidding,  I don't like "things" either.
Okay so I get the milk, ham, cheese and rice all measured and ready. ( And also any "optional" ingredients)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 2 quart (any shape) casserole dish.

Now we're ready to make the white sauce.  Take a heavy saucepan and melt 2 Tbsp. of margarine.

Then remove it from the heat!
Stir in the flour ONE Tablespoon at a time, stirring it in, with a fork until there are no more lumps!

After both Tablespoons have been added and stirred, it should look like this:

Kind of thick and pasty.  Next you add your milk (1 1/4 Cup) SLOWLY!!!!!!  I add about a quarter of a cup at a time and stir each new addition until there are no lumps.  

After all the milk has been added,  put it back on the burner at about medium high and stir it constantly until it starts to boil.  Once it's started boiling, you need to stir and boil for 1 minute.  When the minute is up, remove it from the heat and dump in all the other ingredients.

Stir it in and then pour it into your sprayed casserole dish and cook it UNCOVERED in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until it's hot and bubbly!

Here's the cooked casserole.  Not sure if you can tell a difference between the two but here it is non the less.

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