When cravings start you just have to follow them. That is one of my biggest downfalls. I get “hungry” for a certain meal and off to the grocery store I go. I do not plan my meals ahead. Sure as I do, the cravings will kick in and the planned meal is in the dust. That happened just the other day. I got “hungry” for Ham and beans. So off to the store I go. I bought a bone in ham, the shank portion. I cut most of the ham off and use the bone in the beans as they are cooking. What does this have to do with ham and potato casserole recipe stated in the title? you ask. Well, let me tell you. Something needs to be done with some of that leftover ham. After all, you can only eat so many ham sandwiches.
You could use some of that ham in ham and cheese omelets. That’s one great option. Or you could make a ham and potato casserole. That is another great option. So let’s do that, shall we? It is one of my go-to comfort foods. Many years ago I ate a similar meal one night at work. At that time we were allowed to eat leftovers. Alas, the good ole days. That practice is not allowed now. But anyway, I absolutely loved it and have managed over the years to duplicate the recipe.
I usually use the leftover ham that I had bought for my ham and beans. I try to find the smallest bone-in ham, shank portion that I can find. My absolute favorite brand is Frick’s. It was recommended to me by a co-worker many years ago. It’s usually available at my local IGA grocery store, if it isn’t, I have to be satisfied with what they have on hand. But if they have Frick’s that is my top pick.
You could use any ham, I just use this because after all, something has to be done with all that leftover ham. I usually grind the ham in my food processor. The reason? I don’t really know. Maybe because that was the way it was done when I first tried this meal. I work in long-term nursing and it was ground due to the older population. Easier for them to chew. But by all means, use chopped or diced ham. Either will work.
I use red potatoes. For some reason, I have it in my head that red potatoes are best for mashed potatoes, fried potatoes and for casseroles. White potatoes are for baked potatoes and homemade french fries. Would you believe that I actually buy the type of potato for whatever I am fixing. Weird, I know. The older I get, the more particular I become. That’s something to look forward to in my “golden” years. Not!
The type of onion you use is really up to you. I lean towards sweet onions. But I have used yellow or white. I always saute’ my onion in a mixture of butter and vegetable oil. I believe that brings out the sweetness of the onion and again my long-term nursing experience is showing. The onion is easier to chew this way. I am getting older after all.
Let’s Get To It!
- 2 cups chopped, diced or ground ham.
- 5-6 medium-sized red potatoes
- 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1-2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese (optional and depending on how cheesy you feel, pun intended)
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop, dice or ground ham. Slice the potatoes and keep covered in cold water. Otherwise, your potatoes will turn colors. Saute’ chopped oven in a large skillet with the butter and oil until tender and translucent. Add flour to the onion and stir continuously. Cook for about a minute. This helps to get rid of the floury taste. Slowly add the milk one cup at a time stirring continuously until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
Now at this point, you could add the cheese to the white sauce*. Set aside to cool slightly.
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Then layer with 1 cup of the ham. Spread half the white sauce over the ham. Repeat, ending with the white sauce. Sprinkle the top with cheese if you like. Bake covered in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 40 minutes or until potatoes are done, the cheese is nicely browned and gooey and the sauce is bubbling.
* Omit cheese to the white sauce and instead add the cheese in the layering process. Potatoes, ham, white sauce and then the shredded cheese. I have done both. In the photos in this post, I added the cheese to the white sauce.
The Finish Line
Serve this wonderful casserole with a vegetable of your choice. Growing up, my mom always had a meat, a potato, a vegetable and a salad at the supper meal. I found that I have followed that tradition although I don’t always have the salad. But I always have the meat, potato, and vegetable.
It’s funny isn’t it, the things we pick up in our childhood and continue to do when we are adults? (Hopefully good things). I really hadn’t thought about it until I started this online adventure. But as I write these posts there are so many wonderful memories of my childhood that will just pop up in my head. And I so much enjoy sharing them with you.
I hope you enjoy this tasty casserole. And this is a wonderful way to use that leftover ham.
Please leave a comment below. As always, I love hearing from you.
Have a Wonderful and Tasty day!