Recipe: My Mom’s Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Growing up, I was not a scalloped potatoes fan. They’re kind of bland. And they weren’t spaghetti.

But they came back into my life a few months ago after one of those general pushes to add new recipes to our repertoire.  I try not to make them very often so I don’t get sick of them, but small doses of scalloped potatoes make a nice blah-day food now.  A super-cheap, easy meal.

So I walked into my mom’s shop one afternoon and asked, “Do you remember your scalloped potatoes recipe?”

It isn’t culinary genius or anything, but it’s one of those recipes not written down anywhere. I admire cooks who can just keep recipes in their memories, or eyeball measurements, etc.

I apologize: I’m going to write this out without an ingredient list. This makes about four servings — fills my 1.5 quart glass dish.

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Peel, cut in half lengthwise, and slice two large brown  potatoes. If  your casserole dish doesn’t look full enough, add some more.
  • Dice a piece of pre-cooked ham and mix it in with the potatoes. (I just buy one thick slice from the deli counter.)
  • In  a small  saucepan, melt 3 T. of butter. Mix in 3 to 4 T. of flour, enough to make a paste that’s not too thick.
  • Gradually mix in 1 1/2 cups of milk, preferably not skim. Using part half-and-half or cream makes it yummier but obviously more fattening. Mix until lumps  are gone. Add 3/4 tsp salt or to taste.
  • My mom calls for some sauteed onion, which I forgot this time, but am trying to avoid onion anyway while nursing. You could probably work this step into the original butter mixture.
  • Add liquid/onion to the potatoes and cover with foil. Bake for 90 minutes. Remove foil for last 20ish minutes to brown the top. I forgot altogether this time and the world didn’t end.
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