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Simple Leftover Ham Casserole RecipeJump to Recipe
As the title suggests, this simple leftover ham casserole was inspired by a late-evening realization that my husband didn’t have anything to take for lunch the next day.
He’s a committed “leftovers for lunch” guy, so this wasn’t as simple as trying to scrap together a sandwich or some snacks.
Fortunately, our pantry is stocked up on most staples, including noodles and canned veggies. The only thing that makes this casserole particularly unique is that we didn’t have any milk, but it still came out creamy- without any faux, gross, “cream of” soup- thanks to sour cream.
If you have a few basic ingredients and some leftover ham, you too can make a delicious “throw-together” casserole.
How to Make Casseroles Intuitively
My casseroles are definitely more of a method than they are a specific recipe, and this simple leftover ham casserole was no exception.
I like to think “protein + carb + veggie + base = casserole” as a kind of kitchen formula.
This leftover ham casserole came together when what we already had on hand could fill in those blanks.
The leftover ham served as the protein. Egg noodles for the carbs. Peas and carrots were the vegetables. A roux with broth and sour cream as the base. Honestly, I follow the same basic casserole method every time.
Chicken, pork, turkey, ham, ground venison, or whatever else we could have on hand for protein. Potatoes, rice, or pasta for the carbs. Frozen veggies, fresh veggies, canned carrots, sauteed peppers… whatever I have and need to use up (or whatever “goes with” the protein) serves as the vegetable.
My casserole base varies. Usually a roux, usually some broth. But sometimes I have extra milk, or no milk. Sometimes it’s tomato-based. Just depends on what flavor I’m going for. In a breakfast casserole, the scrambled eggs are the base, since they bind everything together.
(On the subject of roux- it’s just flour + fat + liquid. Serious Eats has a great article about it here.)
It may seem a little intimidating to “just go for it” and put together dinner like this. I’d encourage you to give it a shot anyway.
For one thing, being able to cook without a recipe, and have it come out not only edible, but delicious- that’s a skill to be proud of. It’s also a skill that’s only going to come about after practice and experimentation. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have it down.
My second motivation to cook by formula, instead of blind recipe allegiance, is for frugality. Formulas are flexible, recipes are not. Formulas give you space to use up whatever is in your pantry. A recipe will send you to the store at 5pm because you’re missing one thing.
Those frantic grocery trips and obscure ingredients add up. Cooking from what’s sitting right in front of you is cheaper and faster. (And a necessity if you’re going to participate in any sort of pantry challenge)
Cooking up a Simple Leftover Ham Casserole
With the casserole formula in mind, we’re ready to cook up something tasty with that leftover ham.
Before I did anything else, I started the oven so it would be preheated in time.
Then I started by cooking up some egg noodles. Just boil water, add salt and noodles, stir as they cook.
Then I opened and drained the jars (or cans) of peas and carrots.
I diced up the ham as the noodles continued to cook.
After the noodles are cooked and drained, I put them back into the pot, and added the ham and veggies.
In a saucepan, throw together a roux with butter, flour, broth, and sour cream. (It’s way easier than the fancy title would lead you to believe)
Just mix everything into the roux, pour the mess into a casserole pan, and top it with some shredded cheddar. (Or whatever)
After baking for half an hour or so (based off of its bubbling and a browned surface), we were ready for dinner.
A hot meal, with plenty of leftovers for lunch- and no annoying trip to the grocery store- all in less than an hour.
If you have leftover ham from your Christmas festivities, or your weeknight meals need some variety, give this easy, customizable casserole a try.
Weeknight Leftover Ham Casserole
- Pot, Saucepan
- Spoon, Whisk
- Knife & Cutting Board
- Casserole dish or baking pan
- 1 lb- approx Leftover ham (or other pre-cooked meat)
- 1 can Peas
- 2 pint jars Carrots
- 1 quart Broth
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 12 oz Egg noodles (uncooked)
- 1/2 - 1 cup Sour cream
- Cheese (parmesean, cheddar, whatever is on hand)
- Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Onion & Garlic Powder
- Preheat Oven to 350*
- Fill pot with water, add a dash of salt, and bring to a boil. Follow directions on package for cooking egg noodles.
- While the noodles cook; dice the leftover ham, open and drain jars of peas and carrots.
- Once cooked, drain pasta, and pour back into pot. Add the ham and vegetables- stirring to combine.
- Melt the butter in the saucepan over med-high heat. Add flour. Stir constantly to combine. Add a splash of broth. (About 2 cups) Add sour cream (as needed to make a creamy, milky mixture). Allow the butter-flour-broth mixture to cook, stir regularly. Once this mixture has begun to thicken, add seasonings to taste.
- Pour the butter-flour-broth-etc. mixture over the ham-noodle-vegetable mixture. Stir thoroughly. Taste and add more seasonings as needed.
- Pour mixture into casserole dish. Smooth the surface with a spoon, and top with shredded cheese.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until heated through. (Bubbling and slightly browned on the surface)