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.
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||
- 2 cups ground ham, raw or cooked
- 1/2 lb Wisconsin American Cheese
- 1/2 green pepper
- 2 6oz packages fine noodles
- 1/4 lb sliced mushrooms
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- Cut cheese into small pieces and mince green pepper.
- 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.
- Bake in a casserole in a moderate oven 350 degrees for one hour.
Have you sent in your entry for “Glistening and Jiggly” yet???
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!
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!
Oooohhhhh, it’s always exciting when you bring out a recipe with American Cheese in it! 🙂
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.
Can’t wait to see what you come up with!!!
I know, right?? ;p
I bet Cream of Chicken would be great! Good idea…
Wait–what’s the *other* thing that makes Tom turn green?
*sing-song voice* To-ma-toes!
Specifically, chunks of tomatoes baked into things, like casseroles.
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.
I know this is an old post but I just stumbled on this today. My grandmother Nanny Berkeley who was off the boat from Ireland made this for her four children and husband all the years growing up and then for us grandkids she omitted the mushroom and pepper for the sake of the children and it was just very basically ham tomatoes and cheddar and noodles. The thing that she did differently was to take the tomato soup and use a can of crushed tomatoes instead and you did not therefore get that strange sweet soupy taste. So now after all of us kids grew up loving this casserole it has become a treasured memory of our grandmother. And every time we have leftover ham whether it be me my mother or one of my brother’s someone always makes this casserole! We actually use cheddar btw.
I think people just used what they had. My mother-in-law used to make Ham Rolls….ground ham, onion, green pepper and cheddar cheese. Condensed tomato soup and some oil. The mixture was stuffed into a New England style hot dog roll and baked (400 degrees about 15 mins.) I agree, it was a way to use up leftovers and maybe a Campbell’s soup recipe.