Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheesy Ham and Potatoes

You may notice a trend here at A Blog About Food. Most posts will be clean and healthy, since that it how we strive to eat in our home. And then every once and a while I post a not so healthy recipe like this when I hit a "healthy brick wall" and lose my freaking mind.

I've been asked a few times what I miss the most since eating healthier. While it seems natural to say things like "chocolate, cake or french fries," what I have missed more than all of those things is CHEESE. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Havarti, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Brie, to name only a few. I am a total cheese head and I LOVES my cheese.

So, during Christmas, whilst I was on my brief healthy eating hiatus (I refuse to use the word diet, it's a lifestyle, right?) I made these potatoes. We had a ton of ham leftover and this was the perfect thing.

The tangy and delicious flavor is actually inspired by my blog buddy Kim at Stirring the Pot. She talks often about her love for mustard, and has even featured an amazing Dragon Ale mustard cheese from Whole Foods, which I now purchase every Christmas. While I was making the potatoes I felt the sauce was a bit bland and definitely needed a kick. In goes the rest of that creamy Dragon Ale cheese, along with a couple tablespoons of yellow mustard and we were all in cheesy, hammy (it's a word), heaven. Thanks Kim, your love for mustard saved our meal!

Ham and Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking Light June 2005 (see, it's Cooking Light, not too bad, right?)


2 teaspoons butter
1 medium onion (about 5 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
6 ounces extra shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups), divided (or Dragon Ale mustard cheese if you have it)
1-2 tablespoons yellow or Dijon mustard, to taste
6 ounces diced ham (about 1 1/4 cups)
3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Combine milk, salt, pepper, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan. Bring to a simmer; cook until slightly thick (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently. Add 4 ounces cheese, mustard and ham, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in potatoes.

Place the potato mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle potato mixture with remaining 2 ounces of cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until lightly browned and potatoes are tender. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

What I'm Reading

Technically I'm not reading this, I read it a few months ago, but even if I'd read it a few years ago, I'd be completely remiss not to share it with as many people as possible. It's easily one of the best books I've ever read.

Usually after a read a book, I smile, close the book, and start thinking about my next one right away. This was one of those books that I closed and then sat on the couch for about fifteen minutes absorbing the amazingness that was this book. I then had to get online and find any extra info, photos or interviews that I could.

Whether you are a WWII buff or not, read this book. It follows the life of Louis Zamperini from childhood, into the war, and then his life after the war. It is gripping, intense, inspiring and so touching. His experience as a bombardier, fighting on the Pacific side are just incredible. I also loved learning more about what happened in Japan during the war, where most of my WWII books are centered around the Holocaust.

Read it, and then let me know so we can cyber-highfive about how great this book is.


Indie.Tea said...

Indulging once in a while is ... mentally healthy... I think anyway.
The dish sounds very comforting and yummy too.

Pam said...

The potatoes look creamy and so tasty! My kind of comfort food.

Kim said...

I had to laugh when you mentioned mustard. Too funny! I'm so glad you like that dragon ale cheese and I can see how it would go perfectly with the ham and potatoes :) Thanks for the shout out!

I bought Unbroken for my Dad last Christmas and he loved it. Next time I see him I'll have to borrow it so that I can read it. It received lots of rave reviews.

ARLENE said...

True confessions: I, too, am a cheesehead. I'm going to pin this so the next time I make ham, I remember to try it. Just picked up a copy of Cuisine Lite magazine and, like Cooking Light, it has delicious, healthy recipes.

I read Unbroken last year and found it incredibly compelling. I

Erica said...

Who doesn't love cheese? Its totally amazing ;) So...I'm not a ham fan. Think this would be OK with Chicken?

Patsy said...

This sounds and looks so good!
Also, "Unbroken" is a great book! Patsy

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm desperate for some good, healthier dessert recipes just because I don't want to ignore my sweet tooth but I hate the crappy feeling afterwards... Know of any?

MaryMoh said...

That looks very rich and creamy. I bet it's very delicious. I think it's ok to eat unhealthy once in a while. I break rules all the time :P But I think most time I eat healthy. Just don't want to feel deprived :D Have fun cooking and eating! MaryMoh @ http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com

Rebecca Subbiah said...

oh looks tasty and its cool to have higher fat foods once in a while

Julie said...

Oh boy, another book to add to my growing list! Don't even get me started on those potatoes, yum!

Joanne said...

I like to think that because I gave up meat, I don't have to give up cheese. Seems like a fair trade-off, right?

You definitely need comfort food every once in a while otherwise you'd go crazy! This sounds like it hit the spot.

Taste and Tell said...

Hey - it's totally ok to go a little crazy every once in awhile, right? And this is my idea of going crazy!! Unbroken has been on my "to-read" list, and I think it's going to be moving up to the top now!

Heather @girlichef.com said...

Oh yeah, totally drool inducing. Cheesy potatoes = pure comfort!

Beth said...

That's why I love you so much Teresa, you are a cheese whore just like me!


And I've convinced myself that its worth the 50 minute drive to the nearest Whole Foods to find that cheese. :D



Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judy said...

I love scalloped potatoes, and a lighter version is right up my alley.

Val said...

I could eat my weight in those. Happy Friday.

Mary said...

What a wonderful family meal. This really sounds delicious and I know my family will love it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Dining Alone said...

Those potatoes look delicious, and I could not live sanely without cheese :)

Chris said...

Mustard cheese? I'm not surprised Kim would be behind that one, lol.

Eating healthy all the time is not healthy (just my opinion). Sometimes your body needs a break.

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Reeni said...

I know what a delicious combo cheese and mustard is - I can't eat a grilled cheese without it. Creamy and cheesy is the best kind of comfort food!

themaidseastbay said...

great idea i also love cheese i want to make it we also have many left over ham here haha.. thanks thanks :)

Barbara said...

Well Teresa, that's not too bad a fall off the diet wagon! After all, you used reduced fat milk. :)
LOVED Unbroken!

Liz said...

It always surprises me what I miss, usually for me it involves good bread and good cheese. :)

Congrats on staying on track for so long.

The Blonde Duck said...

Hope you're having a good week!

Velva said...

Ham and cheese potatoes....this is comfort food! Its delicious and we need to enjoy it on occasion, thats what food is about-

I am writing the title of the book down too.