When I still lived at home, years ago, before I got married, it was my responsibility to cook dinner for the family when my mother was working. This was one thing I never really minded doing, because for as long as I can remember, I have always loved to cook. My mother usually told me, pretty specifically, what to cook. If you have ever read other recipes you know, I have a tendency to wander from the guidelines and to improvise...a lot. So, when Mama told me exactly what to cook, at times, I didn't always cook what she said. Sometimes this worked out really great and other times...not so great, which I would definitely hear about. My little sister was always my best support in my rebellious wandering off the traditional culinary path...probably because she felt sorry for me when it didn't turn out so well. Creative children are always so misunderstood...lol.
This casserole was one of my earliest culinary creations. I don't even remember what it was I was told to cook, but this was not it, so I held my breath and decided to gamble on it. I had some leftover ham and I was probably told to make some sort of potatoes and this is what I came up with. Fortunately, is was a hit, because the week before I experimented with shrimp creole and that creole was so hot, it would light you up. My mother hates spicy! It wasn't a good outcome! The whole family praised this one and after I was married and cooking on my own, we ate this one a lot. It's fairly easy, inexpensive and most everyone loves this. It can also be served as a main dish or as a side dish. Here is what you will need:
4 medium size potatoes, sliced very thin
2 cups chopped ham (use leftover baked ham or a ham steak diced)
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 Tbs. butter
1 can Cheddar cheese soup
1 (12oz.) can evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Monterrey Jack/cheddar blend
In a skillet over medium heat lightly sauté the onion and ham in the 4 Tbs. butter just until the onion is soft.
Layer 1/2 of the potato slices in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Sprinkle lightly with seasoned salt and black pepper.
Layer half of the ham, onion and butter mixture over potatoes.
Sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese over the ham.
Repeat layers again with potatoes and ham. In a sauce pan over low heat combine the cheddar cheese soup, the milk and the celery salt and garlic powder until warm and combined. Pour over the ham and potatoes. The liquid should come up just to the top of the potatoes.
Sprinkle with the rest of the shredded cheese. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Various types of potatoes require different cooking times so if the potatoes are not fork tender cook a little longer. You might need to recover it if the top starts to get too brown. Most of the time, these cooking times work perfectly though. To prevent spill overs in your oven, you might want to place this on a cookie sheet to bake and make sure your casserole has plenty of room for expansion. This gets very hot and bubbly, especially while it's covered. Allow to stand for about 7-10 minutes once it's out of the oven.
Creamy Ham and Potato Casserole!