Make-Ahead Macaroni and Cheese with Ham Balls TV Dinner

Instead of heating up a store-bought TV dinner, assemble these make-ahead dinners of mac and cheese, ham balls, and peas. The ready-made frozen meals can stay on ice for up to four months so you can just heat and eat!

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  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Serving Size: 4 ham balls, 2/3 cup mac and cheese, and 1/2 cup peas
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Freeze: Up to 4 months
  • Bake: 45 mins 350°F

Make-Ahead Macaroni and Cheese with Ham Balls TV Dinner

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Lightly grease foil; set pan aside. In a large bowl combine eggs, bread crumbs, onion, the 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon of the dry mustard, and the black pepper. Add ground ham and pork; mix well. Using a scant 3 tablespoons mixture for each, shape into 24 balls. Place in the prepared baking pan.
  2. Bake ham balls for 20 minutes. In a small bowl combine barbecue sauce, honey, and the remaining 1 teaspoon dry mustard; spoon over ham balls. Bake about 10 minutes more or until ham balls are done (160 degrees F).
  3. Meanwhile, for mac and cheese, cook macaroni according to package directions, cooking 3 minutes less than the suggested time; drain. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking; drain again.
  4. In a large saucepan melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in the 2 cups milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in fontina cheese and Swiss cheese until melted. Stir in coarse ground mustard. Spread sauce in a shallow baking dish and cover surface with plastic wrap; cool completely. Stir in cooked macaroni.
  5. For shallot butter, in a small bowl combine the 1/4 cup softened butter, the shallot, and crushed red pepper. Cover and chill until needed.

To assemble dinners:

  1. Using six 8x1-inch round or 8x8x1 3/4-inch square disposable foil pans**, line bottoms of pans with freezer plastic wrap , extending the wrap to one side so there is enough to fold over the top of the food. Arrange ham balls, mac and cheese, and frozen peas in the pans. Top peas with shallot butter. Fold freezer plastic wrap over the food, then wrap pans completely in foil. Freeze for up to 4 months.

To serve:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove foil from frozen dinner(s), lift out dinner using the plastic wrap. Remove plastic wrap and return the dinner to the pan. then cover the pan again with foil. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until heated through (165 degrees F).

From the Test Kitchen

**

If you prefer, assemble dinners in six 2- or 3-compartment microwave-safe storage containers; seal and freeze for up to 4 months. To serve, remove lids from a frozen dinner and cover with vented plastic wrap or a paper towel. Microwave on defrost setting for 8 minutes, then on 100% power (high) for 4 to 6 minutes or until heated through, stirring rice and cauliflower once.

You can also remove a frozen dinner from the foil pan and place on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with vented plastic wrap or a paper towel and microwave as directed.

*

Or use sharp fontina cheese for more pronounced flavor.

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Nutrition Facts (Make-Ahead Macaroni and Cheese with Ham Balls TV Dinner)

  • Per serving:
  • 720 kcal ,
  • 36 g fat
  • (18 g sat. fat ,
  • 3 g polyunsaturated fat ,
  • 11 g monounsaturated fat ),
  • 203 mg chol. ,
  • 1395 mg sodium ,
  • 57 g carb. ,
  • 6 g fiber ,
  • 23 g sugar ,
  • 44 g pro.
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