[Cheap] Ritzy Ham & Potato Bake

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I was pretty proud of myself tonight.  Each time I create my own recipe, even if it’s inspired by something I found online, and it is good, I feel a bit of accomplishment.

Tonight my challenge was to create a dinner from what I already had in my refrigerator and pantry.  I had already planned my meals this week, but since I bungled barbecue sandwiches last week and had to make a freezer meal that night instead, I had to make something else to fill tonight, which was supposed to have been said freezer meal.

I decided to try to make a shepherd’s pie – which I have never made before – using leftover ham and mashed potatoes that I cooked for my mom’s birthday Saturday night.  I looked online and found a recipe and tweaked it (i.e. added two more ingredients).

Because we’ve had too many flops when I do something like this, I’ve learned to make a substantial side dish or two if the main dish is a total flop, preventing a last-minute take-out run.  Tonight I put together a salad. I had some homemade bread that had gone stale, so I made homemade croutons.  Then I decided to make my own ranch dressing for the first time.  I used my go-to manual – Mandy Ehman’s Easy Homemade eBook and tweaked her recipe a bit.  It called for 1 cup mayo, 1 cup buttermilk, and 1 tbsp. homemade ranch dressing mix.  I substituted homemade yogurt for buttermilk and used twice the amount of ranch dressing mix (I LOVE her ranch dressing mix recipe!). The ranch dressing was slightly thicker than in a bottle but oh it was so tasty! And I felt good knowing that we were getting a little bit of healthy yogurt in our tummies. 🙂

Result: both the ham & potato bake and salad were great!  I think I redeemed myself from the barbecue sandwich failure last week.

In case you’re curious, here’s the recipe for the ham & potato bake that I named myself. 🙂

Ritzy Ham & Potato Bake

2 cups cooked ham, cubed
1 can cream style corn
half stack of Ritz crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350.  Place ham in 2-quart casserole dish, and pour cream corn over the top. Bake for 10 minutes.  Add ritz crackers, cheddar cheese, and mashed potatoes.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cut butter up and place on top of mashed potatoes.  Place in oven and set oven on low broil.  Broil for 3 minutes or until top is slightly browned.

Cost:  About $4.50 for the entire dish, which fed all four of us plus two servings of leftovers.  (I calculated the ham to be about $2.20.  I bought a shank half ham for $0.99/lb. at Christmas. It was $11, and we got 5 dishes out of it.  The other items I calculated based on what I paid for them on sale: corn $0.49, crackers: $0.35 for half stack, cheese: $1.00, potatoes: $0.30, butter: $0.20)

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