Several years ago I was faced with a fridge filled with leftovers from a Christmas ham dinner. There were baked potatoes, the ham of course, broccoli and celery from a vegetable tray. I wanted to somehow throw it all together and make an easy casserole using up all those goodies. I searched the Internet and all my cookbooks, but could not find what I had in mind. So, I punted. I made my own.
I haven't made this recipe for a while now because it uses cream of mushroom soup and milk. I figured I could easily switch to soy milk, but I couldn't wrap my mind around a dairy free version of the condensed soup. If you are not dairy free, then you could easily use Pacific Natural Foods Cream of Mushroom Soup. So, what do you do when you are stuck? Just don't make the recipe anymore, unless your teenage daughter begins to beg you. Well, the begging began.
Tonight, I had the Ham and Baked Potato Casserole on the menu. I tried to weasel out of it. I really did, but I was nowhere close to being successful. Alright. I acknowledged defeat and set out to make a "real" cream of mushroom soup. Then I glanced at the clock and realized that this was going to take a miracle. The girls had dance and I barely had enough time to finish this before they left. Maybe had enough time. Probably not.
I remembered seeing a recipe in Roben Ryberg's book You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free for a Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. I checked it out and it was everything I needed: dairy free and only took about 5 minutes to make. Perfect.
I began to get all the ingredients together; began washing and chopping vegetables and then that pesky clock reared its ugly head and I realized there was no way to get this in the oven on time. I chopped like a freaked-out Iron Chef contestant. Okay, that doesn't make too much sense: they sweat, but don't panic. Well you get the picture, I was sweating and panicking. I finally yelled from the kitchen for backup. "Paprika, I need you now!"
I had veggies in one pan and started the soup in the next. I vaguely remembered the recipe so I started throwing things together. Paprika began stirring the soup and then suddenly said, "Mom, is it supposed to do that?" That is when I realized I was nowhere close to remembering the recipe accurately! The soup seized. I thought, wow, I just made glue! I poured soy milk into the mix hoping to remedy my mistakes and stirred like my Kitchen-Aid on high! Please, please, please. Then presto, condensed soup. I looked at Paprika and smiled a smile that surely read, "see I meant to do that." I am pretty sure she wasn't convinced.
I layered the casserole, threw it in the oven, and then the phone rang. Dan was going to be late, change of plans. My time constraints disappeared. Suddenly, I had too much time! Allspice could take the girls into dance, I had plenty of time to finish dinner and could send it along with Dan later. I took that to mean it was time to sit back and relax with a cup of coffee after all that hard work!
All in all, the recipe was great! I will make it again, but next time allow for more time and follow the recipe!!! I hope you enjoy!
Ham and Baked Potato Casserole
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 heads of broccoli chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
2 T olive oil
3 Baked Potatoes
1-2 cups chopped ham
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (see recipe below if making from scratch)
1 cup soy milk
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onion and garlic with olive oil until translucent. Add celery and broccoli. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat until vegetable are soft.
Mix the cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup of soy milk. Set aside.
Slice potatoes and chop ham.
Layer the casserole. Begin with a small amount of soup on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place potatoes in a single layer on top of the soup. Spoon half of your vegetable mixture over the potatoes. Add half the ham. Pour half the soup over these layers. Repeat the layers.
Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through.
Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
Taken from Roben Ryberg's book You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped finely
3 tablespoons of butter (I used Earth Balance to make it dairy free)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch or potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Wash and finely chop the mushrooms. Place in a small saucepan with the butter. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are very fragrant and tender, approximately 5 minutes. A little browning of the mushrooms will add to the flavor. Combine the remaining ingredients in a cup and stir to dissolve the starch. Add to the pot. Stirring, bring to a boil to allow the mixture to thicken.
Use as called for in any recipe. You can make this for little more than a dollar. That is a great savings compared with the boxed variety. You can save over half!