First of all, I refuse to have dinner on the table at 3:30 in the afternoon just so I have good light for my blog photos. That’s right, with 14,000 foot Mt. Evans as a back drop in our Western sky, we start losing light at 4:30 during our Winter months.
So, I’ve dug out Hub’s
(bigger, more cumbersome, neck strapped, has lots of settings, you have to know about apertures and shutter speeds, more complicated, standard grey colored, makes a cool shutter noise when it takes a photo) better camera.
I love my little scratched up Canon point and shoot, which I ordered in a color to match by blog…bless it’s little wrist-strapped heart. But I have to admit, it doesn’t perform well for me in dim light. In addition, my kitchen is well…my kitchen, and I haven’t designated a corner to be a mini photo studio with any special lights or backdrops.
So, that’s why so many blog photos look better than mine and that’s why I’m trying out a better camera over the winter months. My first subject, turned out his lame Scalloped Potato photo, so I think I better get out the owner’s manual and study up. HORrible photo. And it was the best one out of six…can you imagine the others?
Second of all, I would like to admit that I’ve been watching Oprah during all of these holiday vacation days. I didn’t realize that Oprah had so many AH HA moments. With all that said, about ten years ago I had an AH HA moment regarding Ham and Scalloped Potatoes. I said to myself “AH HA, I bet Ham and Scalloped Potatoes could actually be made without using a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup”.
You’d probably have to work pretty hard to screw up Ham and Scalloped Potatoes experiments and after a few delicious batches, I came up with a perfect (for us) creamy consistency and the recipe is now a permanent fixture in my database. Nothing special, but I do like my addition of thyme. And after my first experiment I did remove the finely chopped fresh mushrooms. Not necessary, I decided.
Ham and Scalloped potatoes are so good that I wonder why I reserve it for a once a year event to use up my holiday ham. Let’s take a look.
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 Cup flour
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 3 Cups milk I usually use 2%
- 6-8 potatoes peeled and sliced
- 2 Cups cooked and chopped ham
- 1 small sweet onion finely chopped
In a saucepan melt the butter and add chopped onion. Saute until onion is tender. Add in the flour and cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly until well blended and smooth.
Add parsley and thyme and stir until also well blended. To the bubbly mixture gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Let bubble until thickened. That's about five minutes. At this point I gently salt and pepper. The ham can add enough salt, so be careful.
In a greased casserole dish, layer 1/2 of the potatoes ham and onion. Pour some sauce over the first layer and then top with the remaining potatoes, ham and onion and drizzle on the remaining sauce.
Cover and bake at 375 for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how thick cut your potatoes are. I used a thin setting on the mandolin, so my casserole was ready to go in just over an hour. Turn off the heat and let the casserole rest for about 15 minutes in the hot oven to let it set up.
Two servings. HA…it’s so good we could have eaten the whole thing in one setting, but it’s probably about 6 – 8 servings.
Happy New Year!
Ham and Scalloped Potatoes…It’s What’s For Dinner!