Embarrassingly Easy Ham and Potato Casserole
And Practically Free!
This morning, I was thinking about my great grandmother, Lela, and what she’d think about all of today’s technology. She lived a great deal of her life without electricity. When they needed their kids to come in for dinner, it was just a matter of ringing a bell or calling out the door. Lela had this way of calling that I’ll never forget. She’d use this lightly pitched melodic tone and call out “hooo-ooooh!” and everyone would come running. She also used that one if you ever knocked on her door so you’d know she had heard you and was on her way to let you in. Knock knock. Hoo-oooh! ~smile~
Nowadays, my nine year old actually thinks he needs a cell phone. Nine year old! Oh don’t worry, that is so not happening. We have discussed getting an extra “family” cell phone in a few years with just the ability to call a few select numbers but I guess I’m just a bit too old fashioned to grasp the concept of kids having a need to walk around with phones in their pockets. Its not like I don’t know where he is at all times – believe me, I’m one of those tab keepin’ mamas!
Eventually though, he’ll grow up, he’ll get and actually need a cell phone. I doubt any of my children will ever, in their lifetimes, posess a “landline” or “house phone” as we call it. But the bad thing about all of this technology is that in order for us to be so connected to the world around us, we are actually disconnecting from the world right in front of us. So just when we needed one more challenge in raising our younguns, now we have to set good examples for technology etiquette.
Today’s soap box: talking on your cell phone while being checked out. I don’t care if its at Wal Mart or a fast food drive through, my phone always seems to ring right as I’m being checked out. The way I see it, whoever is checking me out is doing me a favor. Sure, you can take the position that its their job but really, they are perfectly free to walk away and leave me standing there.
For those few minutes though, they are giving me their undivided attention and doing me a favor by ringing up my purchases and I visibly cringe whenever my phone rings during this, it actually makes me turn red with embarrassment. Rather than answer, I apologize and press the button which makes the call go to voice mail.
Still, more often than not you can go to any store and spy all sorts of folks being checked out just a gabbing away to someone who-knows-where while the person directly in front of them silently rings up their purchases and is forced to interrupt their conversation just to tell them their total. If they get a “thank you” for their trouble they’re doing good as the cell phone person walks away, not even hearing wishes of having a nice day.
I know this may seem minor but its little things like this which can change a person’s day and attitudes like this which certainly change a person’s life. Don’t get me wrong, I am as addicted to my cell phone as the next person. I use mine to check emails, read Southern Plate comments, write notes, even blog sometimes. Its just that there is a time and a place where technology begins to hurt our spirit in ways we don’t even notice.
I bet that cashier had a lovely smile which would have brightened the customer’s day to see, if only he or she had of looked up to notice.
Makes me long for front porches and houses without tvs.
Today, lets make a dinner that will give you more time with your family at the dinner table and less in the kitchen.
Just let the phone keep on ringing .
Why This Is Embarrassingly Easy and Practically Free
I almost didn’t bring this to you at all because it is so embarrassingly easy. I’m giving away my secrets here! But after a busy day at school and chauffeuring around kids to appointments, you just might need to call upon this dish. It is also extremely economical. Using a sale I found out about on Southern Savers, I picked up these two boxes of scalloped potatoes when they were buy one get one free. I had two coupons for .40 cents off a single box, which Publix doubled to make it .80 off each box. Considering the price was 1.59 with buy one get one free, I actually made a penny by purchasing these. I used up the leftover ham from Easter dinner and that puts my out of pocket costs at whatever the little bit of milk and two tablespoons of margarine ran me.
I apologize for springing math on ya like that. Believe me, its something I try to avoid!
You’ll need: Milk, Margarine, Scalloped potatoes, and leftover ham.
You can also go to the deli and just purchase a few slices of lunch meat ham and have them cut it thick, then cube it. Any leftover ham will do. I imagine this would be just as well with ground beef and chicken also.
I am using two boxes of potatoes because I am making a big 9×13 inch casserole. Often times what I do is make supper earlier in the day so I can have a bit for lunch and take photos while the light is good and then heat it up at Suppertime. Shhh, don’t tell. No one has noticed me doing that yet!
You can use any of these boxed type potatoes. I use Scalloped in a cheesy sauce but you can also use the Au Gratin or whatever type you like. Feel free to use store brand as well! This is easy because all you are going to do is prepare them according to directions on the box and then just toss your ham in.
Pour potatoes into baking dish. I am using two boxes of potatoes and a 3qt dish (about 9×13). I know they look like potato chips but they are actually much thicker and tougher at this point. Go ahead, try one. You know you wanna. I always do…
Pour your sauce powder (included in the box) over the potatoes and add margarine if your potatoes calls for it. Mine calls for two tablespoons so I’m using four since I doubled it.
My long time readers know I have issues with instant potatoes but just keep in mind that I am also a mother and have no issues with shortcuts that get us all sitting down to dinner! Bear with me, I promise this is delicious!
Chop up your ham.
Pour that into your dish as well.
Pour in milk…
And hot water
it will look like this so we want to stir that…
Now bake according to box directions. My box has me baking at 450 for twenty minutes.
When you are done baking it, the sauce will still be a little thin but after it sits a few minutes it will get nice and thick and yummy!
Sometimes its hard to choose a favorite pic!
You know you can even throw some green stuff in this if you’d like! I’ve done it with green beans before and it was great.
My kids are grateful to Southern Plate for several reasons but the one which came to mind last night was due to me not having a good photo of Chocolate Cobbler on that post. So I made a chocolate cobbler for dessert just to be able to take this. You can see the tutorial (which I posted last year) here. Its another incredibly economical dish which doesn’t even require an egg!
I still don’t like this pic. Chocolate cobbler is not an easy thing to photograph.
Looks like my kids will just have to have it again soon. ~grins~
The only difference between stumbling blocks and steppingstones is the way in which we use them. —Anonymous Submitted by Southern Plate Reader, Dawn. Submit yours by clicking here!