Comfort Food–Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

It seems the intersection of garden season, music performances and working at the greenhouse has put the kabosh on my blogging!  Take-out food has been a lifesaver lately, but I have had time to cook a bit.  The weather has been chilly here, and made me crave hot, creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham.  Mmmmm!

This is basically how my mom makes them, with a few changes–instant potato flakes instead of flour as a thickener, cream instead of milk, and cheese added to bring up the yummy factor.

  • 6 or 7 potatoes, peeled or not, thinly sliced
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided between layers
  • 1 1/2 cup instant potato flakes, divided between layers
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided between layers
  • 1-2 cups pre-cooked ham, cubed, divided between layers
  • salt (just a bit) and pepper
  • 2-3 cups cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 7×12 inch pan.

Peel potatoes if desired.  I like to leave peels on for the nutritional and flavor value.  Slice thinly.

Make a layer of potatoes using 1/3 of the potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of the pan), then 1 TBSP butter (cut into little bits to divide it over the potatoes evenly-ish) 1/2 cup potato flakes, sprinkled evenly, 1/2 cup cheese, sprinkled evenly, 1/3 of the ham divided over the surface, salt and pepper and about 2/3 cup cream.  (Ham helps salt the potatoes, so you won’t need much more than a pinch per layer.  I like lots of pepper in scalloped potatoes–adjust pepper to your taste.)

 Make 2 more layers.  Place on the middle rack of the oven with a sheet pan on the rack underneath to catch any overflow.  (I have yet to get the cream just right so it doesn’t boil out of the pan!)  Bake 45-55 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender and entire pan is golden and bubbling.

Yummy!  Uber-creamy as any proper comfort food should be!  Leftover scalloped potatoes will wait in your fridge to welcome and comfort you the next day at lunch or dinner.  A quick turn in the microwave and they’re just as good (or maybe even better!) as the night before! 

Make them vegetarian by leaving out the ham.  Intensify the flavor by using a sharper cheese.

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1 Comment

Filed under comfort food, dinner, recipe

One response to “Comfort Food–Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

  1. Oh, yum! Looks like the scalloped potatoes my grandma used to make… with the addition of cheese for an au gratin twist! Hers were always my favorite but every time I tried to recreate them from memory I couldn’t get the sauce to thicken like she did. I’ve tried using more flour with the salt and pepper… now I’ll give the instant potatoes a try- just might make the difference I was looking for!

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