Sometimes, when it’s cold out side, when the world’s got you down, or it’s just that time of the month, we crave our “comfort foods”. Depending on who you are, where you’re from and how you were raised, comfort food can mean something different to each of us.
Hubby and I are from the South, so that usually means something with plenty of salt and cheese. Speaking of the South, I love how Paula Deen says “Ham” (Ha-yum). It has “yum” in it already!
Anyway, we were craving a taste of the South, so stopped by our supermarket for some supplies and came back with the makings for my ham cheese and potato bake. It’s super easy, all you need is a large casserole dish such as the 3 quart, 9×13 inch pan shown here. You can separate it into 2 separate, smaller dishes if need be, I’ve done that too.
To make it as you see here, you’ll need:
2lb bag of frozen Southern style hash browns, or the equivalent of 2 pounds cubed potatoes. We’ve tried using shredded, but the texture is different so we prefer the cubed.
2 cups (approximately, depends on your taste) shredded cheese (your choice).
1lb cubed or diced ham.
1/2 jar (approximate) cheese sauce (Ragu has a nice balance of flavor), optional.
Other ingredients can be added such as small frozen veggies like peas or mixed veggies, but it will alter cooking time and finished texture.
You can half the recipe if necessary, but we just use the entire bag of potatoes, knowing we’ll eat it ALL.
As usual, except for the ham and potato, the cheese measurements are approximate. We just put enough cheese on until it looks right.
Due to the long baking time, make sure you start (with an empty pan) about 2 hours before it’s time to eat the first time you make it. If it finishes early, you can keep it in the warm oven until it’s time. If it takes a bit longer to cook, you won’t be screwed.
The casserole doesn’t need it, but we sprayed the pan with cooking spray for easier cleanup. You can do the next process as layers like this, or mix it all together and dump it in with a layer of cheese on top, your choice.
We layered in this order: Shredded cheese, 1/2 the potato, All the ham, dollops of cheese sauce, more shredded cheese, the last of the potato, a few more dollops of sauce and a final layer of cheese. Now that I’m thinking about it, some ground pepper would be nice as well.
We’ve found that the ham and cheese sauce make the need for added salt unnecessary. If you choose to not use the sauce, some salt might be needed depending on the saltiness of your ham.
Bake it in a 350 or 375 degree oven for about 1 hour. Our oven is wonky, so the cooking time varies from batch to batch. We’ve had it ready anywhere in between 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Basically bake it until the potatoes are hot & cooked and the cheese is all bubbly. Using fresh potatoes will alter cooking time as well.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
This stuff is so good! It’s great as leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top too! However, because it seems really bad for us, we try to make it no more than once a month. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for almost a week.
This recipe is great because it’s easy, filling and provides leftovers for the rest of the week for breakfast or lunch.
Enjoy your HaYum!