Ham and cheddar key to crowd-pleasing Scalloped Potatoes

Jan. 15—Local Flavor loves a good side dish, and you can never go wrong with potatoes.

And cheesy potatoes? Say no more.

That's why we jumped at the chance to try Annette Hull's Scalloped Potatoes with Ham. The Archbald woman's family loves the cheesy, creamy dish, and she thought Local Flavor might too.

It's a variation of a dish served during her bridal shower 40 years ago. The scalloped potatoes at the event blew away Hull's mother, the late Diana Fiorelli, who then tracked down the recipe from one of the ladies at Peckville's VFW.

Hull tweaked the original recipe, which didn't have ham, and it's been on rotation in her kitchen ever since. Her husband of 38 years, Tom Hull, warned that it tastes better than it looks. Her use of a cheddar soup in the recipe also adds a unique flavor to the potatoes, he added.

She starts by slicing eight to 10 potatoes. It doesn't matter which type of potato you use, but it's important to slice them evenly and thin so they all cook the same, she said.

In a baking pan, combine the potato slices with one can of Campbell's cheddar cheese soup and half of a can of Fritos cheddar cheese. Hull fills the empty soup can twice with either whole or 2% milk and adds it to the mixture. For this recipe, stay away from 1% or skim milk, she said.

Add a half stick of salted butter, which Hull breaks up and distributes throughout the pan, as well as salt, pepper and onion powder for seasoning. She also includes leftover ham or cooked crumbled sausage, depending on the main dish. Sometimes instead of leftovers, she picks up ham steaks and cuts them up for the dish.

Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for two hours, or less depending on the potato, and stir the dish every so often. Test the softness of the potatoes after 90 minutes.

You have to be careful not to overcook the potatoes because it dries them out, Hull said. If there's a delay between making and serving the dish, she said adding a little more milk and warming it up can do the trick.

She often makes the potatoes without ham as a side to breaded pork chops with a vegetable or salad. It's also a good way to use leftover ham after a holiday like Christmas or Easter.

"Everybody loves it," she said. "It's good. It's easy. It's not complicated at all."

Fiorelli taught Hull how to cook and it became a passion of hers. Along with her scalloped potatoes and pork chops, she's known for her chicken marsala and other dishes.

Hull loves to experiment with new recipes and cook for her family, which also includes sons, Christopher and Justin, and grandson, 7-year-old Jaxon.

"That's what drives me, and I'm always coming up with different kinds of recipes," she said.

Contact the writer:

bwilliams@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5107;

@BWilliamsTT on Twitter