Prep: 45 minutes
5 large baking potatoes, peeled
3 lbs cooked ham (smoked, not honeyed)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese, divided (sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese mix)
1 tsp salt
1. Slice potatoes into 1/3-inch slices and add to a pot of cold water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until potatoes are cooked, but still firm. Drain water and set aside.
2. Dice ham into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
3. While potatoes are cooking, make cheese sauce. Add butter to a saucepan on medium-high heat. When butter starts to bubble, add flour and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon 1-2 minutes until it forms a paste. Add milk, one cup at a time, and mix constantly with a whisk until thickened. Be cautious not to let it burn. Once sauce is at desired thickness, add 2 cups of cheese and reduce heat to low. Add salt and stir until cheese is melted, then remove from heat.
4. Place potatoes and then ham into a 9x13" casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over it all and then top with remaining shredded cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees 10 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble around the edges.
Note: To speed thickening, warm the milk in the microwave before adding to the sauce.