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.

dscn0059Pour 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!


Like this…


and this..

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.



Embarrassingly Easy Ham and Potato Casserole
  • 1-2 Boxes Scalloped or Au Gratin Potatoes
  • Leftover ham
  • Ingredients called for on box (typically milk, water, and a bit of margarine or butter)
  1. Prepare potatoes according to package directions, place in casserole dish. Stir in ham. Bake according to package directions.1 Box potatoes yields 8x8 casserole. 2 Boxes yield 9x13 casserole.Can add green beans or peas to make this a more complete meal!

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!



Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Christy's email list and receive all her new posts directly in your inbox


      • Maria says

        Hi Christie,

        I made the Scalloped Potatoes just last night, and exactly the way you did. Only difference was that I used ground turkey sausage instead of the ham. (We don’t eat pork.) I browned it first and then added it to the potatoes in the same step that you added the ham. Great cooks think alike I say. :)

        I have to tell you that I love your site and look forward to a new recipe everyday. I will pray that everything will work out for you and your new house. It is gorgeous!

        Cooking Buddy,


  1. Bill Gent says

    I went without a cell phone for the first 40 years of my life.. I can do it again. (and might have to if things don’t get better) I don’t think kids need cell phones.. tracking devices, maybe, but not cell phones.

    We are becoming too detached from each other. We call instead of going over to visit. Humans were not made to be alone. It just ain’t good for us.

    The casserole sounds good.. ‘cept we never have any left over ham. Our family has been known to stab clean through a relatives hand trying to get the last piece.. man Granny was mad for a long time.. till she healed up. I apologized of course.

    • Terri go Dawgs says

      Wow Bill! I just heard a chorus of “Amen’s” from somewhere behind me. Very well put about people now secluding themselves and calling instead of visiting in person. For the most part, not speaking to people is the norm in my neighborhood, sad to say. That, and I have a 15 yr daughter who says ” I would rather text than call ‘cuz I just don’t like talking on the phone.” That’s is just crazy talk for me, lady w/ the gift of gab. I LIKE to hear laughter, not read it. LOL ;-O

      I love being neighborly! That is why yesterday I took 2 casseroles WITH leftover ham to friends in need. Now I HAVE to run out to buy some boxes of Au Gratin taters. Thanks a lot, ChristyCook.
      One more thing, my husband, the baby of 4 brothers (and his mama was a great cook) has stab scars on his hand from reaching for the last pork chop. Pity.

      • says

        First off, great recipe idea.

        Cell phones… my pet piev. I’ve purposely done without one for the past 15 years (yeah, they were huge ‘bag’ phones back then).
        If you carry a cell phone – it will ring. I’ve never regreted my decision though. PS. I use an answering machine at home on my ‘landline’, if its important enough they’ll leave a message, but don’t DARE call my house after nine PM – LOL.

        Through work I have been ‘blessed’ with yet another cell phone. But after only two days I’m about fed up with it. I left a written message for an employee to see me before leaving for the day, but instead received a cell phone call while shopping for office supplies in Walmart. Can you imagine telling an employee that their loved one has passed away in a phone conversation… well luckily no one passed away but you get my meaning. If I had wanted to talk to them over the phone I would have called them before I left the office.

        Same employee took it upon herself to get her own cell plan and hand me down the company phones to three of her children. Got a call from a school teacher wanting me to GPS pinpoint one of the cells to catch the thief who stole it. But alas, the very next day the child brings yet another work phone to school (contraband).
        Too much drama for me, just bring back our 3 business phones.

        An average months phone service here with NO extravegance is between 16 and 30 dollars. But another employee had three consecutiove months with over $500.00 – worth of all things ‘text messages’. None of which were business related, just bored.

        Say goodbye to an employee as he’s leaving, rrrriiiinnnng, I get a cell phone call from THE PARKING LOT. Too lazy to walk back in the building?

        Glazing at our 4 line office phone I receive a personal call… I’m ticked now, don’t call my cell when I’m sitting at my desk. If I’m missing in action ok, but dang, call me ‘normally’ first.

        First two days have just been too long… got to rethink this cell phone stuff.

  2. says

    Yummy Christy. We make these too, but I always add broccoli or peas. I usually buy the scalloped potatoes and add in my own shredded cheese just ’cause I like it better that way!! :) The other easy way I fix these potatoes is to mix them up, add in the veggies and cheese and top with boneless skinless chicken breasts. One dish meal, baby! Thanks for brightening up each day!! I feel like we’re neighbors, sitting down to share recipes, over a tall glass of sweet tea, rocking on the porch!! Shelly

    • says

      Thank you Shelly. I have been stressing about what to make for some comany coming over tonight. I am going to buy the scalloped potatoes and add the broccoli and chicken breasts and my own cheese. Now, what to do with the leftover Christmas ham?

  3. Trish, on the other side of Athens says

    Haha, I hear you on the cell phone debate! Funny thing, though – our house no longer has a land line, and hasn’t for about 2 years now. My husband and I each have a cell phone, and we have cable internet, so no need for a land line phone.

    However, our 10-year old does not have a cell phone, nor will he until he is old enough to pay for it himself each month. When he is at our house and needs to call his mother or someone, he uses one of our cell phones. He is never there without one of us, so there’s no issue there. Until the little one makes his debut in June of this year, our 10-year-old is our only, so there’s never a child at home alone who may need a land line in an emergency, such as a teenager left for a couple of hours after school or while grocery shopping, as I was when I was a teen. When our children are old enough to be home alone, we will more than likely have a land line again, just for safety’s sake.

    The recipe looks delicious! I’ll have to buy the potatoes and ham to try this one out! Kinda reminds me of those “Homestyle Bakes” type meals they sell in stores now. They usually contain either potatoes or pasta, plus meat, and maybe biscuits and gravy sauce or some such bread that goes on top. Except I’m sure this is much cheaper, and possibly better for you!

    Wonder how this would be with a thinner sauce, with the broccoli mixed in and Bisquick drop biscuits on top??? Sounds delicious to me!

  4. Kay Stebelton says

    My husband will not eat boxed potatoes, but I did use the same concept using the leftover ham when I made my own escalloped potatoes w/ham. I just spray a baking pan (not too deep, I like to use a lasagna pan) with nonstick spray, then layer raw sliced potatoes/onions/a couple tablespoons of flour/cubed ham or cheese/salt/pepper and butter, ending with the butter. Pour milk over it and bake slow (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours @ 325).

  5. Robert(citycowboy) says

    Now ya gave me an excuse to go to the store to get the taters to do this……and dont worry about it being “not southern enough” or “too simple”. These recipes still have that southern touch. And we need to keep the land lines….I remember sleeping on the front porch on pallets with my cousins in the summer time….THAT was fun

  6. ehlendtj says

    I agree with you on the cell phones. I work in a public office and I hate it when someone walks up to my window and they are chatting on the phone. We have to ask a lot of questions so it is annoying to feel that you are interrupting their conversations. I am almost to the point that if I see you standing in line and you are on a cell phone, I will ask the person behind you if I can help. It is rude people!
    Oh, p.s. the recipe looks delicious. Some of my favorite ingredients!

  7. says

    I LOVE THIS RECIPE! My hubby loves those boxed scalloped potatoes and this is such a quick way to use them so that when I’m swamped which lately I have been, I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen! I will try this recipe and I’m grateful you shared it! BTW, we don’t have cell phones, had to cut back and really…I don’t miss it! 😀

  8. Vickie says

    That casserole does look extremely easy and oooh so good! I’m gonna have to try it! Oh and that cobbler I though u had burned this casserole for a sec. Can’t wait till u post that cobbler! yum!

  9. Brittainy says

    I love doing this!! I actually have some ham frozen for when a get a taste for it. I prefer to use smoked sausage or kilbasea. But Goodness that chicken and brocoli sounded devine!

  10. says

    Have you ever made this with smoked sausage instead of the ham? It’s so good that way. Hmmm now that I’m not feeding my sister(who at 23 is 1,000 times pickier than Katy can think of being)I’ll have to make this again.

  11. Su says

    This is one of my favourite things! I love anything with potato, and anything potato, baked and with cheese.

    I totally agree with about talking on the phone at the check out. I worked in a pharmacy from around the time I finished high school and all the way through me studying at university and not a day would go by when someone would not be getting served at the check out and they would continue to talk on their phone. I can totally understand when it’s an urgent situation but you’d hear their one sided conversation and just know that it was something that could wait just a couple minutes. I find it unbelievably rude and won’t do it myself.

  12. Betty says

    Hey Christy, I also do this tater & ham casserole and we all love it. Sometimes I also add some mixed veggies in with the casserole, ummm, a perfect balanced meal,lol. I have also made it with sliced hot dogs added and of course that is my little ones favorite, :)

    As for the cell phones I also have one, but only for emergencys or things like the schools needing to reach me when I’m away from home, etc. I have 3 small ones at home 9,11,& 14 and all 3 keep begging for cell phones and my answer is always “no”. They usually go where I go, are not left home alone, and the times they are away from me are well supervised so I feel theres no need for cells. Are they happy? Of course not, but they will live through it until they are old enough to get a job and be able to buy and pay for one on their own. It is nonsence to see all the little kids from primary school and up walking around with cells and the things even going off during classes at school.

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and tips you’re always so kind in sharing with us and we love ya bunches for it!!!

  13. Jenna says

    I made the Chocolate Cobbler as soon as I saw the recipe last night. It took my husband about 3.7 seconds to devour his first bowl with ice cream, so I’d say it’s a hit!! I found it was even better this morning..all gooey and fudgey…Thanks Christy!

  14. says

    What I really think is rude is all those folks who have that bluetooth-thingie in their ear ALL THE TIME. They walk around like they are the most important person in the world. I hate to tell them, YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!!! It’s just rude and extremely bad manners. I’m with you on that part. If my phone rings when I am with someone, checking out, etc.. I always apologize and NOT answer the phone. I hate to say it but I do think we are all loosing personal connection with people who are right in front of us. It’s really sad.

  15. Jeanene says

    Wow… hoooo oooohh… That brings back very pleasant memories of sitting on the back patio with my granmommy and my great grandmother “Mamma” and Mamma saying that. Grandmommy says it still, too. How I treasure those memories… even better if we had a bowl of green beans to snap or a mess of peas to hull. (for those of you not in the South, a mess of peas is a bunch.. lol)

    Thanks, Christy, again!

    • Bill Gent says

      Sure remember those days Jeanene! Shucked many a mess of peas, Picked Okra and Squash. I washed turnip and mustard greens in the backyard in a washtub..in the middle of winter. Those were the days for sure.

  16. Felicia says

    I made these last night with Au Gratin potatoes and they were a hit. Both my hubby and my stepson had big second helpings!! I think I’ll try to scalloped potatoes next time!! Thanks for this one!!

  17. Sue Walker says

    When I was a little girl, my Grandad only had electricity put in the downstairs rooms – the house was heated by a big cast-iron range with a bread-oven in the side – because he said ” bed was for sleeping, not reading “. We used to have an outside Loo at the end of the backyard as well, I remember putting my shoes and coat on to run across it to go to the toilet and when I forgot to take my torch, asking Grandma if she would open the curtains for me so that I could see. We had a “tinbath” which we filled with kettles of water infront of the fire on bathnight, as we didn’t have running hot-water.

    My boys look at me as if I am out of the stone-age when I tell them about these things.lol

  18. Kay Pockrus Cooper says


    I can’t wait to try this and the chocolate cobbler recipe! I am disabled with back problems and bed ridden or in a wheelchair and I can’t stand long to cook anymore and either I can do this from my chair or my husband can and it will be so easy and quick! Thanks!

    I too had a Grandmother that called out like that and would scream out the door for my Grandfather “Charleyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” that was his name but she could stretch it for miles and a good thing he maybe out in the cow pasture and need it to go miles. You brought back all these memories for me and they are so dear and special. I lost them both 20 years ago within 6 weeks of the other. Very hard to lose good people like that within 6 weeks of each other but that’s how in love they were one couldn’t last without the other one. I also saw someone comment on the mess of peas and I so remember that and laugh. My husband grew a garden last year and he told both of our girls if you don’t shell you don’t eat. They wanted to eat so they shelled. lol I can remember the best talks with my realtives as we shelled peas, butterbeans and lima beans! It was great! I wish everyone could have those down South Traditional memories to cherish. Thanks for reminding us!

  19. Gail Higgins says

    I just took my 1st one out of the oven and it looks soooo good, I buy the little round thin cheap slab of ham and cut it up, added a can of green beans and here it is, can’t wait to try it, smells delish!

  20. says

    we do this all the time add mixed vegtable. have useed smoked sausage, or tuna.cell phones my granddaughter got the kind that is the kind you have to put minuntes on. the phone they sell at walmart. she learned how many minutes it takes for a call. an she has it for when on bus after school. to get a hold of her parents at work.

  21. BJ says

    Okay, I’ve made this twice with Chicken and Broccoli. Tonight, I made it with ham and peas. We got a package of ham chunks from the grocery store and mixed that and a drained can of peas, a small container of sour cream and some sliced onions with 2 boxes of potatoes and added a little colby monterrey cheese on top at the end. . OMG, was it good. Really creamy and it smelled so good while it was cooking, we were starving by the time it was done. Christy, girl thanks for sharing this one with us!./bj

  22. TNChristy says

    This is what we’re having for supper tonight! :) I LOVE how easy the recipe is. I found a box for .89 with a .35 cent coupon attached. Leftover ham! Yep, easy and inexpensive is a winning combination! Thanks for helping inspire me. My family thanks you too.(still eating on the Butterfinger cake and it is better today than yesterday)

  23. Gerri says

    Trying this tonght w/ a chopped up ham steak and frozen peas (need some green stuff!). Also decided to cover w/canned fried onions (like we use for Thanksgiving green bean casserole) during last 5 to 8 min of cooking….hope it turns out great….will let you know.

  24. Tracy Sunshine says

    I am trying this for the first time, we always have a smoked pig and deer in the freezer and just tired of ham slices, so I cut up 2 of them and followed your 2 box recipe,,, my hubby loves scalloped potatoes, but HOMEMADE,, but I think he’ll love this…. my mom worked for Nabisco,, so we really didn’t have anything that wasn’t fried to death to get it out there quick,, chops you could break with your fingers,,, but she made home made scal. pot. once in a while ,, and I think this is going to be just as good as homemade.. it sure has a lot of ham in it. So made it up while he is out hunting and will put it in near the time he’ll be home… I can’t wait to eat it, up here in the mountains everyone makes homemade everything,, but i’m not a born mountain woman, and I worked 2 jobs,, so microwave is what I am good at… so he usually does the grilled meat and I do the potatoes and sides.. I think he’s in for a surprise on this meal . thanks for the easy Home made kinda recipe….

  25. John says

    Christy, Love your story. Im old enough to remember only having black and white TVs and just a couple stations. I remember really only caring about cartoons, Disney or the Waltons. Or preferring not to come inside at night just to play longer. TV was not a big thing, even though we all had a couple of favorite evening shows we liked before bed. But we didnt need all the “tech” stuff of today. I too miss those old days. As much as I love being on the computer or watching a good movie on my big TV Id give it all up to be back in those days long ago that were so much better. I know sadly there is no stopping it. I believe we have lost so much in America. A simpler time, when it was more about God, family, community. With the world the way it is, I believe we are looking on some real hard times coming. With our dependence on so much Tech most will be lost. :( Oh and BTW I do love Potato’s & Ham casserole. I like to use hash browns too.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *