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Cheesy Ham Casserole

8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion -- for 1/2 c chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper -- for 1/2 c chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
8 ounces lean ham -- Jones Lean Choice, diced
14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes
14 1/2 ounces stewed tomatoes -- Hunt's
black pepper -- to taste
1 cup shredded 2% Cheddar Cheese -- sharp


Bring 2 1/2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil in a covered 4 1/2-quart or larger Dutch oven or soup pot. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the angel hair pasta and cook until firm-tender, 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in an extra-deep 12-inch nonstick skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat. Peel and finely dice the onion, adding it to the skillet as you dice. While the onion is cooking, seed and chop the bell pepper, adding it as you chop.

Add the garlic and ham and cook until the ham starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. While the ham mixture cooks, drain both cans of tomatoes, adding them to the skillet when the ham has slightly browned. Stir well. Set the skillet off the heat.

When the pasta is done, drain well and stir it into the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the black pepper, and continue to cook, uncovered for 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta mixture and cover the skillet. Cook until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. THen uncover the skillet and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about another 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and cut the pasta mixture into 4 sections, taking care not to scar the skillet bottom. Serve at once.


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