Holiday Leftovers: Ham & Shells

Holiday Leftovers: Ham & Shells

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Mamiverse Food Contributor Nicole Presley, who was recently honored as one of the Top 100 Mom Food Blogs of 2013. ¡Felicidades Nicole!

I’m absolutely insane about ham. Usually for the Easter holiday, I get a big spiral cut ham and serve it with bread and everything you would need for the best sandwich ever. I make sure to buy one that could feed an army in hopes that there is plenty left over.

I like to cut as much meat off the bone as possible, but no matter how hard you try you can never get it completely off. The perfect solution to that is to make a batch of beans. Lentils, navy, pinto…depends on what you like. Throw the bone in the pot while the beans are boiling and you will have the tastiest pot ever.

With the leftover ham pieces I will sometimes make a quiche or pizza, but my favorite way to enjoy leftover ham is in a baked pasta. The combination of pasta shells with cheese and ham makes me weak in the knees. I sincerely believe that I look forward to Easter just to get to the leftover ham so I can make my ham and shells.

Read Related: Super Bowl Supper: Honey Dijon Mustard Ham


1 pint cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 pound pasta shells (cooked according to the package)
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cups chopped ham (cut into ½ inch cubes)
¼ cup chopped green onion (white part only)
¼ cup torn pieces of fresh basil
2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
2½ cups shredded jack cheese
1 stick butter plus extra to butter your baking dish.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 quart half and half
1 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 370° F.
  2. Place a large pot filled to the halfway mark with water over a high flame. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package. Drain and set to the side.
  3. In a big bowl combine sliced cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, ham, green onion, fresh basil, and cooked drained pasta.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Next add in cheeses (cheddar and jack) and mix until completely combined.
  5. Transfer pasta and cheese mixture to a 9 x 13 glass buttered baking dish.  Then sprinkle salt and pepper over the top to your liking. Set to the side.
  6. Make the sauce by starting with a big pan, over a medium flame, add butter and melt down. Then add garlic to melted butter along with half-and-half. Mix until combined. Bring butter cream mixture to a slight boil then remove from flame.
  7. Pour over the pasta cheese mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the top with panko bread crumbs. Then gently press down on the top of the bread crumbs with both hands to make sure the crumbs get slightly moist for cream butter sauce.
  9. Place in the oven for 55 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Eat it  right out of the oven or allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Enjoy!