Delicious Ham and Scalloped Potato Recipe

January 2, 2011 at 8:20 am | Posted in pork, Potatoes | 32 Comments
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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.

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes:

6 T. unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 t. dried parsley
1  t.  thyme
3 C. milk (I usually use 2%)
6-8 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 C. 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 cassarole 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! 

Cream of  Mushroom Soupless Ham and Scalloped Potatoes…It’s What’s For Dinner!



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  1. Yeap, sad to say, but spending time with the owner’s manual is a must.

    Also, an inexpensive option is to use daylight balanced bulbs in your lighting fixtures. will certainly help. I also use at least one, and sometimes 2 of those directional clip on lights (with the adjustable necks), again loaded with daylight balance.

    And, take LOTS of photos, different angles, different stages of finished dishness, etc.

    Finally, if you don’t use a correctional program to improve color balance and the like, check out Picasa 3 (google search will find it). it is very easy to use and will make your colors pop.

    Working on my pictures is a big goal of mine this year. I even set a goal of a photo a day from my kitchen that doesn’t have anything to do with the food I am making that day. Like everything, it takes practice (and BTW, I only use a point and shoot camera, no SLR for me either.


    Oh, and happy New Year!

    • Ok, are you sitting down???? This photo was enhanced in Picassa 3! LOL – that’s how bad it was. I just need to get used to Bob’s camera. I like several of your suggestions. Yes I take lots of photos and different angles. Love the idea of the daylight balanced bulbs and the adjustable neck lamps. I actually think I have one in the basement. I’ll go dig around. Thanks Dave and happy New Year to You too.

  2. LeaAnn I totally understand the lighting issues especially this time of year. Would you consider ‘building’ a light box? I did over this break for about $15 and then you can take photos at any time of the day or night with no compromise. Here is the link I used to do it: Feel free to email me if you want insight on what I used or where I got it (it’s cheap and works well)!

    • Wow, thanks for the information. I’ll most certainly go take a look.

  3. Oh dear, watch out world. Your point-and-shoot photos are really good -you’re going to be amazed at the fun you have learning how to use the big gun. (your first try is not bad compared to some of mine ) The photos are my favorite part of posting. I have learned that using a a tripod is pretty handy for low light and Dana built me a light box that collapses and stashes easily. That and editing are all that I can do. We’re so far north we get some darned short days with dismal lighting so I have to do something! I’m with you about it being my kitchen for pity sake. BTW. I like your recipe. :). Thyme sounds like a delicious addition and it’ s growing in my kitchen window!

  4. yeah right, we’ll see about the “oh dear watch out world” part. I’m pleased with my point and shoot photos in the daytime, I’d like to see better photos in the evening. I agree, I can’t wait to load photos onto my camera and see how good I did. Fun! I usually steady myself with elbows, but then I don’t get any further away shots. I might have to haul a tripod into the kitchen…ahem. I’ll take a look at a light box. btw I like my recipe too. I could eat it until I weigh 600 pounds. Hugs and thanks for the comment Vic.

  5. I was the lucky one this Christmas and got a new camera. So, we are in the same boat. It takes some time to get adjusted to the new camera and that isn’t easy. I also cook in the evening and it is pitch black outside when I have to take my pictures. My husband gave me two big umbrella lights that make all the difference in the world. It is a bigger operation so and it will take some time getting used to the new equipment. Don’t give up, Lea Ann!!
    I also made scalloped potatoes last week. My kids requested them.
    Happy New Year, Lea Ann.

    • How fun. Can’t wait to see photos from the new one. I might have to break down and buy some lights. Isn’t scalloped potatoes just the best?? Thanks Kirsten.

  6. This looks delicious. Basic ingredients can make great meals. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. I bought the Canon S90 (S95 now) – it is as close to a DSLR that you can get in a point and shoot. You can shoot in manual or auto. The lens is great. I could really tell a difference in my photos. It works well in low light too. I didn’t want a DSLR – too bulky and expensive. My blog is a hobby and wasn’t worth the expense.

    we are having ham and white beans tonight – finishing off our ham. The scalloped potatoes look great! I got a 16-cup food processor for Christmas – I am dying to slice up some potatoes.

    • I don’t think I want a DSLR either. Just want my dim photos to be better. I’m actually studying my owner’s manual for the little point and shoot right now. Better 2 years late than never. I just finished off my ham with ham and beans too. All gone! Enjoy that 16 cupper Stephanie and thanks for the comment.

  8. I’ve always enjoyed this dish but haven’t had it in years – yours sounds delicious. We have a thick slice of center cut ham in the freezer that will soon be looking for a recipe. I’m always envious of the pictures of others, but it’s obviously not been a priorty for me to improve mine much – I haven’t even taken the time to see what all our little point-and-shoot is capable of. Guess I’m more into the food and other things than the photos and I hate cold meals, so two quick shots is about my limit.

    • Too bad it got gobbled up before I could realize that my photos sucked! I think any version of Ham and Scalloped Potatoes is delicious. I don’t like cold meals either, so have gotten pretty good at getting it on the plate and getting some quick photos. I’ve just spent about an hour reading my manual for the point and shoot. Kinda fun.

  9. Once you play with the camera, you’ll be a pro in no time.

    • Well I’m glad you’re confident Pam! 🙂

  10. I think most people have the light problem in the winter and it sure doees mess with the photos! My mom always used to make ham & scalloped potatoes. I haven’t had them in years. Sounds good.

    • Yes, I grew up with ham and scalloped potato. Seems like it’s how I use the ham every Holiday. Thanks Karen.

  11. You are so funny! This post cracked me up! Taking photos at night is SO DIFFICULT!

    It’s true…I never think to buy ham except over the holidays (esp. Easter) and then make something w/the left overs! I may have to buy a small one and try this as I know the kids would LOVE it too and I am trying to think of more meals we ALL like!

    Happy New Year!

    • I always have a sense of humor when it comes to frustration. I agree, so many markets sell those small ham steaks…I’m just sayin. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

  12. You recipe looks delish! You can never go wrong with plain old comfort food. By the way, I belong to the army of hand held cameras myself. I purchased a light box with a couple of small lights and a tripod for $20 on Ebay. It works pretty well but I just prefer daylight. So funny, my next blog is about this very topic. I guess great minds do indeed think alike.

    • Karen, I can’t wait to read your next blog. Always great when you can “relate”. I suppose I’m going to have to look into a light box. I mean, we’re at least 4 months away from normal.

  13. I make something spicy and you do Ham and Scalloped Potatoes; did we have a mutual out of body experience?

    One of my all time favorites; so reminds me of growing up and Grandma!

    I just got a new camera too. I have a nice point and shoot but it was the wrong camera; I just could not manipulate it enough to get the quality of photos I wanted. So I asked Santa (me) to give Barb (me again) a new Canon 60D and I guess I (me) was a good girl. Now for the time to figure the thing out; it is larger, it is complicated but I love the learning and creative process it allows for.

    I work at home and you would think I could take pics during daylight but…oh shoot, I have to actually work! So during the winter I use a pair of Lowell Ego lights and some white boards. I may pop for one more light as I’m too often holding the Ego light in my hand while trying to press the shutter if I think the light needs to be more ‘above.’ It’s a nice little addiction this photography stuff, isn’t it!

    • You’re too funny! I love the photography side of blogging and will have to look into some lights. Guess it’s time to grow up. Your photos are already gorgeous Barb, can’t wait to see what you do with the new equipment.

  14. well, I love beautiful photos but to me it is all about the recipe and the dish! Anyway this one hits the target it is perfect for this winter season and I would lick the plate clean, light or no light!

    • I did lick the plate clean and actually thought it would make a better photo than the bad one. Thanks Joumana.

  15. At the moment, I have an old camera and good light. I’m going to hang in there with it as long as I can. (several things don’t even work on it) I sure would love a new camera!
    When you’re feeding the family, it’s difficult to run to the computer to make certain you’ve got a decent photo.
    You’ll figure it out for sure, but light is definitely the key.

    I agree, Lea Ann, ham and scalloped potatoes is so good that I don’t know why I don’t make it at other times during the year. It’s comfort food. And I love your addition of thyme!

    • I’m going to get some sort of light. All of my photos are taken on the kitchen island, or the kitchen table. It would be simple enough to plug in a light. I sent through a phase that I added thyme to everything. It was my thyme discovery.

  16. Wow, homemade English muffins. I’m really impressed. I can imagine that your eggs Benedict were scrumptious with that perfectly cooked poached egg. I love that breakfast!

    • Cathy, it’s a good Hollandaise Sauce recipe. A keeper.

  17. Great recipe! I can not say enough about the Panasonic/Olympus/Leica Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses. My 20mm 1.7 lens just loves low light photography. Take a look at them and drop me a line if you need some help (I used to do the whole photography thing for a living).

    • Well thank you Dave. I’ll most certainly take a look. Thanks for your comment and the information.

  18. You can never take good photos with anything other than a high dollar DSLR camera, Point and Shoots are a waste of time….just go look at Greg’s blog at SippitySup!

    Huh? Really? Point and shoot? Greg? nevermind 🙂

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