Discovering My Grandmother’s Recipes: Cheesy Ham & Sour Cream Casserole

My husband has begged me not to make any more of my grandmother’s recipes, so I’d say this experiment is going quite well.

Two weeks ago, I discovered eleven recipes my grandmother’s had submitted to their old church cookbooks and decided to embark on a journey to cook them all.

So far, I’ve prepared Ship Wreck Casserole (the one my mom hated), a creamy Apricot Jell-O Salad, and creamy Old Fashioned Cauliflower Slaw. Sunday supper involved making Grandmother Jane’s Ham and Sour Cream Casserole.

Ham and Cheese

What I liked about this recipe was that the ingredient list was minimal and seemed very simple to prepare. Plus, none of the ingredients seemed objectionable since they just included noodles, ham, eggs, sour cream, and cheese. How bad could this be?

Just like when I prepared the past few recipes, I had an I just can’t moment while I was attempting to grate the pound of cheese. I grated a half pound of cheese (a mix of sharp cheddar and swiss) and just had to stop. I stared at the looming mountain of cheese shreds and thought of grating twice that amount blew my mind.

Other adjustments I made included adding even less than the 1/2 pound of cheese I grated and diluting the sour cream with a little milk since it was too thick. When the casserole had finished baking, I broiled it for a few minutes to see if the top would brown. It didn’t.


Concluding Thoughts
The casserole matched my initial prediction that it wouldn’t taste that bad because the ingredients were so basic.

My husband made a sad face and commented that it couldn’t be that healthy, so we ate small portions along with big bowls of our favorite kale.

We added plenty of black pepper, and, although he did not return for more casserole, admitted that it tasted decent. I brought it with me to work for lunch during the week.

If you prepare this recipe as written and mix the eggs and noodles together in the baking dish after it’s sprayed, the egg layer will stick to the bottom of the dish. And yes, this layer does taste like scrambled eggs. You’ll find some hot ham water gathers in the bottom and the cheese will congeal into a chewy layer. I didn’t even use a half pound of grated cheese and the casserole was extremely cheesy and a little bit oily.

A whole pound of cheese would be obscene, so, if you must, proceed at your own risk.

I’m going to give Jake and I a break from these retrotastic casseroles and prepare healthier meals this week. Otherwise, I’m afraid he’ll quite literally run for the hills screaming should he catch sight of another mayo and cheese-based concoction. We live in Iowa, so he’ll have to run pretty far to find those hills and I don’t want to have to catch him.

Join me next as I tackle Old Fashioned Fruit Cake, Chicken Marengo, Cashew Salad made with fresh greens and homemade vinaigrette and Pilaf before I try each grandmother’s version of crab casseroles. These will give you the mayo shivers. With the predicted blizzard, who needs any more shivers? We can all afford to make these wait.


  1. Debbie's Midwestern Kitchen

    I can’t wait to try this!

    • Jeni Flaa

      What’s funny is that we were looking at your blog last night picking out recipes to make since we need a break from these casseroles:)

  2. Cathy

    For the most part this sounds good, but I think I would have to add some onions and maybe a bit of pickle relish as well as black pepper (because I use a lot of black pepper on just about everything but my oatmeal).

    • Jeni Flaa

      I desperately wanted to add onions. We did add a lot of black pepper too because we are the same way:)

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