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Mom’s Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

The Perfect Storm! Given the temperatures are reaching record lows, I had some leftover ham and I actually took a snow day today I thought I’d make some heartwarming comfort food.  This is another one of my mother’s recipes and I’m getting closer to getting it to taste almost as good as hers!  I thought this would not only warm up our tummies, but warm up our hearts and souls.  I miss my mother more and more each day.  In the beginning I certainly missed her, however the flurry of activity surrounding a loved one’s death and the number of people who surround you kind of eases the pain.  In recent weeks I’ve noticed her absence more and more.  Every time I turn around I think that I have to remember to tell her something.  It really pisses me off when I want to ask her how to make something or have her remind me that I have to remember to do something!! I also miss her when I’m watching one of her favorite shows and look over to see if she’s enjoying it as much as I am.  Damn it!  However, she keeps showing up in various places.  Say what you will, but I believe our loved ones come back for a visit.

Ham and scalloped potatoes is probably a retro dish.  I love to find new recipes, but I also love to make the dishes I grew up eating.  Although my mother probably grew up eating and learning how to make a lot of Italian dishes she made quite a variety for us when we were kids.  Every single night we all sat at the table without failure eating together.  No one told us that this was a must – it was the American way back in the 60’s! And most certainly the Italian way!  Today I get a kick out of the family experts who have to tell us eating together is what builds strong families.  Really? Geez, thanks for letting us know!

So here is how you make this creamy and darn near succulent ham and scalloped potatoes!  Cream sauce can sometimes be a challenge.  It may come out too thick or kind of gritty or too runny. Typically for a cream sauce you put equal amounts of butter, flour and liquid (in this case half & half).  The heat you cook it over can also determine how thick and how fast.  I use medium heat.  With this dish I like it looser because it will thicken as it cooks.  I really believe you have to experiment with it.  Many times I am disappointed the way dinner turns out and apologize as the family tells me over and over the food is great! I am a perfectionist when it comes to food and I try to tell myself just to have fun with it!  So give it a try!

Mom's Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Mom's Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into think slices
  • 1 cup of sliced ham, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups of half & half or whole milk
  • 1/2 onion sliced into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A shake or two of garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a kettle.
  2. Once butter is melted add the onions and some salt and pepper
  3. After the onions have cooked for a few minutes, add the flour and make a rue. Leave on heat for a few minutes to cook off flour taste.
  4. Slowly add the half & half or milk and whisk over time.
  5. Allow the sauce to thicken slightly - test with a spoon, once a thin layer sticks add in the ham.
  6. Add salt, pepper and the garlic powder, taste to be sure you have a tasty cream sauce!
  7. Add in the potatoes and stir in.
  8. Butter or spray cooking spray in a baking dish.
  9. Transfer the ham and potatoes to the baking dish and cover it.
  10. Bake on 350 covered for about 30-40 minutes. Bake another 20 minutes uncovered or until potatoes are soft.
  11. You can also throw some sharp cheddar on the top for extra flavor.
  12. Take out of the oven, cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  13. Serve and enjoy!!

 

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