Over a Cup: Potato casseroles to warm you up

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Diane Prather

Potato and Ham Casserole

6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 1 ½ pounds cooked ham, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons margarine or butter

2 ½ cups milk

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes. Drain. In a bowl, combine flour, butter, milk, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Then add onion, drained potatoes and ham. Spread it into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes. Note: You can add cream of mushroom soup.

Awhile back, after our kids were here, I had some ham leftover — more than was needed for ham and beans.

So, I looked through my “to try” file and found a recipe to use ham and potatoes in a casserole. (I later made the ham and beans, too.)

First off, these are the ingredients to use in making “Potato and Ham Casserole.” (Then I’ll explain what happened when I made the casserole.) You’ll need: 6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced; 1 medium onion, chopped; salt and pepper, to taste; 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of cooked ham, cut into 1-inch pieces; 3 tablespoons flour; 3 tablespoons butter or margarine; 21/2 cups milk; and 4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will need a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish.

Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes. Combine the flour, butter, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl (or right into the casserole dish). Add the potatoes (drained), chopped onion and ham. Sprinkle with the cheese. Then bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

I never learn. It seems like I can’t resist playing around with recipes, and this time was no different.

I thought that cream of mushroom soup might be a tasty addition so I put it in with the milk. But then, I thought that I might not need to use as much flour because the soup thickened the mixture some. I ended up using 1 tablespoon of flour.

So, I had a surprise when I took the casserole out of the oven. Soup — that’s what I had.

I quickly added more flour and put the casserole back in the oven, but it was still soupy. However, it had a delicious flavor, and I guess that it didn’t matter that we ate the casserole out of bowls.

So when you make the casserole, add the mushroom soup if you like, but add the flour, too.

If you like soup, don’t add any flour and maybe put in some more milk. You probably could cook the soup version on top of the stove! It is yummy.

“Special Potato Casserole” is also good. For this recipe you will need: 1 can cheddar cheese soup, 1/2 cup milk, 4 cups thinly-sliced potatoes, 1 small onion (thinly sliced), 1 tablespoon margarine and paprika, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Stir the soup until smooth. Gradually add milk. Stir until well-blended. This is the sauce. Then butter a casserole dish and arrange alternately the potatoes, onion and sauce.

Dot the top of the casserole with butter and then sprinkle with paprika. Bake, covered, for about 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.

There’s still time for holiday cooking. If you have recipes you’d like to share, send them to me at PO Box 415, Craig, CO 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

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