Cheese & Ham Casserole – A Retro Recipe Test

Posted on Apr 18 2012 - 6:36am by RetroRuth

So, if you are anything like me, you have about eight pounds of leftover Easter Ham in your fridge or freezer right now, just mocking you. Well, maybe not mocking you. But it’s not exactly in there thinking about how it’s going to make itself into delicious dishes that you can feed your family.  So, when I hit the cookbooks to come up with this week’s Mid-Century Menu, I had a definite plan. I was thinking “ham”.

And came up with Cheese & Ham Casserole. American Cheese & Ham Casserole.


This recipe came from a little packet I picked up last time I was in Wisconsin visiting the folks. It was a promo packet that you could order in the 1930’s from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture that was pretty much packed with as much cheese as one set of cards could handle. Cheese in casseroles? Got it. Cheese in apple pie? Got it. Cheese in gingerbread?

Oh yeah, they got it.

But as much as I want to bring you cheese in gingerbread (hold your horses, you know it’s coming), I latched onto this one not only for it’s high ham content (take that, huge piles of leftover ham!) but also for the high content of American Cheese.

Wisconsin Agriculture001

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I can’t pass up a chance to feed Tom American Cheese. He hates it. He loathes it. And it always gives me great pleasure to make the Man With Iron Stomach eat one of the two things that make him turn green.


“God,” he sighed. “Does it have to be American Cheese?”

“It says right here ‘Wisconsin American Cheese’. A half-pound of it.”

“Yeah, but American?”

“Well, we have that block of 5-year-aged cheddar we brought back with us. If you want, we can use that instead and mix it in with condensed tomato soup.”

“Pass. Bring on the American.”


And it was a good thing he decided that. Cause I wasn’t kidding about the soup.


The smell coming off this thing was…intense. You can’t see it in the picture, but we were surrounded by our cats. And probably cartoon stink lines. The cats kept meowing. I think they wanted to know what in God’s name we were making. Or maybe they were trying to warn us.


But after it baked the reek of canned soup lessened slightly. It started to smell less like soup and more like a Denver Omelet. Which I think is an improvement, but since I don’t like omelets it isn’t much of one.


“This is surprisingly edible.”

“Really? It’s good?”

“I didn’t say ‘good’. I said ‘edible’. Let’s not go nuts.”

The Verdict: Edible. I am not going to go out on a limb and say this was good either. Tom and I both ate our whole servings, and managed to eat one round of leftovers, but the rest is sitting in the fridge, sadly neglected. Tom thinks it would have been better with hamburger instead of ham, and I would have to agree with him. The tomato soup gave a definite sweet taste to the whole dish, which, when combined with the richness of the cheese and the sweet/salty from the ham, made everything a little sickening.

Cheese & Ham Casserole
Recipe type: Main Dish
This dish is rich and sweet. Tom and I both think it would be much better with hamburger instead of ham.
  • 2 cups ground ham, raw or cooked
  • ½ lb Wisconsin American Cheese
  • ½ green pepper
  • 2 6oz packages fine noodles
  • ¼ lb sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  1. Cut cheese into small pieces and mince green pepper.
  2. Mix all ingredients, including soup diluted with an equal amount of water, with noodles which have been cooked in boiling salted water until tender and drained.
  3. Bake in a casserole in a moderate oven 350 degrees for one hour.


Have you sent in your entry for “Glistening and Jiggly” yet???

Glistening and Jiggly Promo big

This is the last week to send it entries for our Mid-Century Menu Gelatin Contest! Be sure to have your entries emailed to me by April 25th, we have tons of fun prizes from my own coveted prize cabinet and from some of our lovely sponsors from No Pattern Required!

I’m excited to see what you’ve got!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. veg-o-matic April 18, 2012 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Mmmm. I *like* American cheese. Ham, not so much. I think I’d try this, though, substituting cream of celery for tomato. I’m just not enjoying thinking about the tomato soup/ham combo.

    Gasp. Inspiration just hit:

    Off to look for a Jell-O recipe that has American cheese in it!

    • RetroRuth April 19, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with!!!

  2. Sara In AZ April 18, 2012 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Oooohhhhh, it’s always exciting when you bring out a recipe with American Cheese in it! 🙂

    • RetroRuth April 19, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

      I know, right?? ;p

  3. Eartha Kitsch April 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    I only barely remember what ham tastes like but I bet this could be good if the tomato soup were swapped out with something like cream of chicken or cream of mushroom.

    • RetroRuth April 19, 2012 at 9:13 am - Reply

      I bet Cream of Chicken would be great! Good idea…

  4. veg-o-matic April 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Wait–what’s the *other* thing that makes Tom turn green?

    • RetroRuth April 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      *sing-song voice* To-ma-toes!

      Specifically, chunks of tomatoes baked into things, like casseroles.

  5. Nick May 24, 2012 at 9:06 am - Reply

    I made this the other day, but substituted the soup with a Boursin based roux. I also used shredded mozzarella instead of processed cheese, and diced ham steak instead of ground ham. I let it sit for a day, and by jove, wouldn’t you know it, this thing tasted quite good. The ham, mixed with the caramelization during cooking, added a nice smoky flavour. I’d definitely make this again.

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