A creamy ham and potato casserole is a smart, tasty way to use up leftovers. It's easy and can be prepared ahead of time, so you can come home from work, pop it into the oven, and have dinner for your whole family an hour later. When you're counting calories, you can substitute low-fat butter, milk and cheese, or use turkey ham instead of real ham. You can pair ham and potato casserole with a fresh green salad in the summer, or a hearty vegetable soup in the winter.
Things You'll Need
3 to 4 medium potatoes
Chopped leftover ham
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli or other vegetable
Fresh or dried herbs
Bread crumbs, crushed corn flakes or crushed cheese crackers
Prepare a white sauce with milk, flour and butter to give a creamy texture to the alternating layers of your casserole. Cayenne pepper can add a kick to a plain white sauce. Mushroom or another canned cream soup can stand in for white sauce in a pinch.
Grease your baking dish. Butter adds a rich flavor, but cooking spray or oil can do the job as well.
Layer potatoes and ham in your greased dish. Potatoes can be sliced, in chunks, mashed or even frozen hash browns. Pre-cooked potatoes require less baking time than freshly sliced. Layering ensures a uniform result and a somewhat neater presentation than simply combining all ingredients, but it does take a little more time to arrange.
Pour the sauce into the center of the casserole and shake it to move the sauce down to the deepest layers of the dish.
Top with cheese of your choice, a vegetable and herbs. Depending on the what you have on hand, you could give your casserole a country flavor with cheddar cheese, broccoli and salt and pepper, go Italian with mozzarella and parmesan, tomatoes and oregano, or try pepper jack and red peppers. The fairly neutral potato base helps this casserole adapt to your favorite flavors.
Cover the dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; then uncover and bake for 30 more minutes.
Combining all of the ingredients is a fast, easy, family-night alternative to the layered approach. Simply combine ham, potatoes and a vegetable in a large bowl and mix well.
Pour the ingredients into a greased baking dish.
Top with a white sauce, cream soup or cheese of your choice.
If you prefer a crunchy crust, sprinkle buttered bread crumbs, crushed crackers or corn flakes over the top.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees, for an hour.
A quick, no-mess method for crushing corn flakes or crackers is to take a soup can and crush them while they're still in the unopened bag.