Cooking is my hobby, my passion, and my way to winning hearts because let’s face it, everyone loves to eat. Though I haven’t had any official training, I have dabbled in cooking classes and watched enough Food Network to wing owning cafeterias and a successful catering business. Since Sunday is the day that I am generally at home watching TV and writing travel stores, I use this time to try out new recipes and fine tune my cooking skills. If my family is around, they join me for my Sunday feast but if not, I may invite a friend over, share it with my dog, eat it all, or save the leftovers for later in the week.
Sunday Supper Series
The goal of my Sunday Supper series is for you to not be intimidated by cooking. Hard work and confidence is all that is necessary to make even the beginner cook shine. These are recipes that everyday people like you and I can make that will taste good, not break the bank, and are perfect for sharing. Give cooking a try and if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Come join me and let’s cook!
Catch up on our Sunday Supper Series: Week 1
Focus For Week 2: Familiarizing yourself with a leek
Hearty Ham Bake with Leeks
Today, we are going to make a Hearty Ham Bake. This meal is super filling since it uses leeks and potatoes, plus it reheats very well. You could pair your Hearty Ham Bake with a side of BBQ green beans (see my post here) or a simple salad with your favorite dressing. No bread is needed since you already have starch in the potatoes.
Active Time: 35-40 min Serves: 6
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- I buy whatever is on sale
- 2 potatoes thinly sliced
- Mine were russet potatoes
- 2 cups diced ham
- I bought Smithfield Anytime slices in the refrigerator section
- 2 thinly sliced leeks
- Use the light green and white parts only
- If you have not cooked with leeks, do not be intimidated. They look like giant green onions. Slice off the hairy looking white end. Measure up about 2″ from the other end of the white bulb and cut that off, too. You will chop the white part (plus 2″ of green) that is remaining. Leeks are very dirty so once you chop them, rinse them in a colander once, twice, three times and drain on paper towels. Easy peasy.
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- Crushed between your fingers to release flavor
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- I Horizon whole milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Pinch Nutmeg
- Don’t worry about being fancy or fresh; dried nutmeg is fine
- Salt and pepper
- Use plenty of salt
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- Your choice, I prefer Swiss or Cheddar and I shred my own
- 2 Tbsp. Panko
- Japanese breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs
- Only have seasoned ones in your cabinet? No problem, more flavor!
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- You can use the shaker jar kind or fresh grated
- Preheat oven to 400°. Coat shallow baking dish (2-3 qt.) with butter or spray.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leeks and thyme. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour; stir and cook 2 minutes. (this will take the flour taste out of the recipe) Whisk in milk and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat.
- Spread 1 cup of the cream sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer with half of the potatoes, followed by half of the cheese (Swiss or Cheddar), and all of the ham. Spread with another cup of sauce. Top with remaining potatoes and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, panko or breadcrumbs, and Parmesan.
- Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 more minutes, or until the top is browned and bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Check out these yummy dessert recipes that would work well with the Hearty Ham & Leek Bake: