I created a new Instagram highlight called Cam Jams. It’s a collection of Insta stories featuring Cam…jamming…in his chair at lunch time. Of course I’m biased but I think they’re hysterical! I first noticed him zoning out and really feeling the music we play during lunch several weeks ago, so I started capturing it on video and the rest is history. If you need a good laugh, I highly suggest you check it out. ;)
The recipe I’m sharing today makes me want to do a happy dance of my own – Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese is rocking (har) my entire world! Creamy, cheesy, chewy and packed with holiday ham, this recipe is the definition of comfort food. Hey, January’s resolutions are still a month away – let’s enjoy a fun and indulgent meal while we still can!
The recipe for Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese is sponsored by my new friends at Crystal Farms. Funny enough, I started buying Crystal Farms cheese a couple months ago because all their products are gluten free, plus I noticed their bagged cheeses contained big, fat shreds which melt really well for tacos, nachos, and quesadillas. That said, it was an easy “yes!” to work together on a decadent holiday dish featuring their block cheese offerings.
While Crystal Farms bagged shreds are great for my Tex-Mex faves, freshly shredded block cheese is a must for creating a creamy, velvety cheese sauce to envelop gluten free gnocchi and diced ham in this dreamy, homemade mac and cheese. Gnocchi instead of elbows in mac and cheese? Trust me when I tell you this is a definite UPGRADE! That said, be sure to save the leftovers from your holiday ham because you are going to FLIP for easy dish.
Now, you can make Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese with any of Crystal Farms’ cheese flavors but for this rendition I went with a blend of Extra Sharp Cheddar and Gouda cheeses, which I think pair well with ham. This is an easy dish to make your own though. Next time I’m going to try their Smoked Cheddar cheese… #drool Add chicken or even bacon instead of ham – it’s simple to customize.
Is Gnocchi Gluten Free?
Thankfully there are several options for gluten free gnocchi available for purchase at the regular grocery store. Gluten free gnocchi doesn’t need to boil for nearly as long as it’s gluten-full counterpart though, so be sure to read package instructions before cooking.
Where Can I Buy Gluten Free Gnocchi?
Not all gluten free gnocchi are created equal and my favorite brand is Delallo gluten free gnocchi. I find it in my grocery store’s health market near the other gluten free pastas. They’re sold in 12oz packages and you’ll need two packages for this recipe. That said, this is an easy recipe to halve, too!
I’m so excited for you to try this fun and unique, ultra cheesy dish that’s super simple and comes together in a jif. It’s what gluten free comfort food dreams are made of!
How to Make Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Start by making the cheese sauce. To a medium-sized saucepan melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat then sprinkle in 2 Tablespoons gluten free all-purpose flour (I use Bob’s 1 to 1 baking blend in the blue bag) and whisk for one minute.
Next microwave 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock in a glass measuring cup until warm, about 2 minutes. Slowly stream the warm liquid into the butter/flour mixture while whisking until smooth. Season with 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, salt, and lots of pepper then turn the heat up just a touch to bring the liquid to a bubble, stirring frequently.
As soon as the liquid begins to bubble, turn the heat back down to medium/medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 5-6 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat then add 8oz freshly shredded Crystal Farms cheese in two batches, stirring until the first batch is completely melted before adding the second batch. I use equal parts Crystal Farms Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Gouda cheese. I love this combo but again, feel free to play around with your favorite flavors. Once the cheese is completely melted, stir in 1 cup diced ham. If you’re not using holiday ham leftovers, simply cube up a ham steak.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil then, around the time you take the saucepan off the heat to sprinkle in the shredded cheese, add 24oz gluten free gnocchi to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. The Delallo GF gnocchi only needs 1-2 minutes.
As soon as the gnocchi float to the top of the water use a spider strainer to transfer them into the cheese sauce then stir to combine.
Let the Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese sit and thicken for a few minutes then scoop into bowls and dive in. I hope you love this customizable, super decadent, outrageously cheesy and delicious dish! Enjoy!!
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Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Ham and Gnocchi Mac and Cheese is as decadent as it comes! Diced ham and gnocchi are enveloped in a rich, silky cheese sauce. Indulgent and delicious!
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons gluten free flour (I use a 1:1 baking blend)
- 1 cup milk, 2% milkfat or higher
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 8oz Crystal Farms block cheese, shredded (see notes)
- 24oz dried gluten free gnocchi (I like Delallo brand)
- 1 cup diced ham
- Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Meanwhile, add milk and chicken broth to a glass measuring cup then microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour then cook while whisking for 1 minute. Slowly stream in warm milk/broth mixture while whisking until smooth. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper then turn heat up slightly to bring mixture to a bubble, stirring frequently. As soon as you see bubbles, turn the heat back down to medium/medium-low then cook until slightly thickened, 5-6 minutes, stirring gently and constantly.
- Remove saucepan from heat then stir in shredded cheese in two batches, stirring until the first batch is completely melted before adding the second batch. Add ham then stir to combine.
- Rewinding a bit: Just before removing the saucepan from the heat to add the cheese, turn the heat up under the pot of water to bring it to a rolling boil. Add gnocchi then cook according to package instructions. Delallo gnocchi only need a couple minutes - do not overcook! Either drain the gnocchi or use a spider strainer to transfer to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine then let sit and thicken for 5 minutes, and then serve.
- Use any blend of Crystal Farms cheeses to make this dish your own! I use 4oz each Crystal Farms Extra Sharp Cheddar and Gouda cheeses. The key is to hand grate whatever cheeses you choose, vs using pre-shredded cheese, for a smooth and velvety cheese sauce.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.