Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur | Pinky's Pantry
I found out that today is National Sandwich Day. Who knew we had a day dedicated to sandwiches? I love sandwiches. They’re the easiest thing to pack for lunch, they’re adorable cut into dainty little shapes for tea, and our family road trips just wouldn’t be the same without a cooler of sandwiches and drinks in the trunk of the car.

It’s commonly believed that the sandwich was the invention of John Montagu who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich in England. I can’t vouch for the truth of that, but the story goes that Lord Sandwich was a notorious gambler. They say he spent long hours at the gaming tables and rather than get up to eat, he would ask the servants to bring him some sliced meat between two pieces of bread so he could hold the food in one hand and keep his cards in the other. His friends embraced the custom and when they got hungry, they would ask for “the same as Sandwich” and that’s how the sandwich got its auspicious beginnings.

Anyway, in deference to National Sandwich Day, I decided to make Croque Monsieur for dinner tonight. Croque Monsieur is typical French bistro fare. Fancy as its name is, it’s basically just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel sauce and more cheese. It’s delicious served all hot and melty with a glass of wine or an ice cold beer. If you top a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg, you’ll have what’s called a Croque Madame. But that’s for another post.

CROQUE MONSIEUR
(Makes 6 sandwiches)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 12 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • room temperature butter for spreading on the bread slices
  • 1 jar dijon mustard
  • 6 ozs. thinly sliced Black Forest ham or Virginia ham
  • 8-10 ozs. Gruyère cheese (can substitute Emmental, Comté, or Swiss cheese)
  1. Slice enough Gruyere to make 6 sandwiches (6 or 7 ozs.) and grate the rest to use for topping. Set cheese aside.
  2. Make béchamel sauce by melting 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  3. Add flour, whisking until well combined.
  4. Gradually whisk in milk, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Set béchamel aside and preheat broiler to high. You’ll broil the sandwiches later.
  8. Butter one side of all 12 slices of bread.
  9. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stove.
  10. Place 3 of the bread slices, butter side down, in the skillet.
  11. Brush some mustard on top of each slice of bread in the skillet.
  12. Top each with a slice of ham and a slice of Gruyère.
  13. Cover sandwiches with 3 slices of bread, butter side up.
  14. Cook until deep golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook other side.
  15. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bread.
  16. Spoon béchamel sauce over each sandwich.
  17. Sprinkle a little grated Gruyère over béchamel.
  18. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and light brown.
  19. Serve hot.
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Breakfast Corn Casserole

Breakfast Corn Casserole | Pinky's Pantry
This is a great casserole to serve for breakfast on a weekend morning. I’m making it for Christmas breakfast this year actually. It’s easy to do and better still, you can make it a day in advance. I like to serve this casserole with a bowl of salsa on the side. Yum!

BREAKFAST CORN CASSEROLE

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 ozs. chopped fresh kale
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (can substitute dried)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans cream-style corn
  • 1 lb. ham, diced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 box cornbread mix (like Krusteaz or Marie Callenders)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onions, kale, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until kale is soft and onions are translucent.
  4. Add corn, ham, and sour cream, and cook until hot and bubbly.
  5. Pour corn mixture into prepared baking dish; set aside. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight at this point.
  6. Next day, remove casserole from refrigerator at least half an hour before baking.
  7. Prepare the cornbread batter according to directions on the back of the package.
  8. Stir 1 cup cheese into cornbread batter.
  9. Pour cornbread batter over corn mixture in baking dish.
  10. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  11. Bake for 35 minutes or until corn is bubbling and corn bread topping is done.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich Casserole

Ham and Swiss Breakfast Casserole | Pinky's Pantry
One of the nurses at work gave me this recipe several years ago and it fast became a favorite in our family! It’s different from the usual breakfast casserole because you make little mini ham and cheese sandwiches and then turn them into a yummy casserole dish. I love Hawaiian rolls, too, which is what you use to make the little sandwiches. You’ve got to give this recipe a try! It’s super easy to do and is a great dish to take to potlucks and family gatherings. I know it’ll become a favorite with your family, too!
Ham and Swiss Breakfast Casserole | Pinky's Pantry
Ham and Swiss Breakfast Casserole | Pinky's Pantry

HAM AND CHEESE BREAKFAST SANDWICH CASSEROLE

  • 2 pkgs. Kings Hawaiian rolls (12 rolls to a pack)
  • 1 lb. shaved ham
  • 1 lb. swiss cheese (can substitute provolone, mozzarella, or other white cheese)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. dried onions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch pyrex glass baking dish.
  2. Cut all the rolls in half and place the bottom halves into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Top the bottoms of the rolls with ham, then the cheese.
  4. Place the top halves of the rolls onto the sandwiches.
  5. Cover pyrex dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. While sandwiches are baking, make sauce by melting together the butter, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, and dried onions in a bowl in the microwave.
  7. Take casserole from oven and remove foil.
  8. Pour sauce evenly all over the sandwiches.
  9. Return to oven and bake another 5-8 minutes.