Dearest readers and eaters,
Have I got a recipe for you. Just in time for Christmas. And the inevitable left-overs that you just can’t face again after the big day. I am talking Monte Cristo casserole. Quick and tasty, this casserole combines breakfast flavors with those scraps of turkey and ham left from Christmas dinner to make a dish that works well at any mealtime. Morning, noon or night.
Let’s Get Cooking: Monte Cristo Casserole
You won’t be needing your crock pot for this one, girls. Instead, we will be baking this casserole in the oven. Which proved problematic for me because my oven keeps turning itself off. Without warning. I go to remove something from the oven thinking it has cooked only to discover the oven is lukewarm and my food is about the same. Lukewarm and half-baked. Kinda like me. Hoping Santa will have mercy on me and deliver a new oven slightly before Christmas so our holiday dinner isn’t ruined.
A little history on this dish from What’s Cooking America. The Monte Cristo is thought to have originated as a sandwich fashioned after a French dish called Croque Monsieur, first served in a Paris cafe in 1910. Croque Monsieur is really just a fancy name for a grilled ham and cheese. The recipe sailed across the ocean to make its debut in American cookbooks from the 1930s-1960s. The name Monte Cristo is believed to have been given the sandwich when it was first served in southern California in the ’50s. In 1966, Disneyland helped the sandwich spiral to popularity when it was featured on the menu of several restaurants at the amusement park.
And now I am bringing it to you! In the form of a casserole, which somehow seems like a more substantial meal than a sandwich. So bring me our ham, your leftover turkey and your huddled family, we are going to whip up some magic. Here’s what else you will need.
- 1 cup skim milk (I bet almond milk would be delicious)
- 6 eggs or 1½ cups egg substitute
- 2 (12½ ounce) packages frozen French toast slices, thawed
- 8 ounces deli ham, diced (leftover ham)
- 8 ounces deli turkey, diced (leftover turkey)
- 4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated (I used Gruyere, which is the cheese used in the original Monte Cristo and Croque Monsieur recipes)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, snipped (I omitted)
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- ½ cup strawberry ice cream topping
- ½ cup raspberry jam is good for dipping if strawberries are out of season
Because there were only going to be 2 of us eating this and we were going out of town so didn’t want a lot of leftovers, I cut the recipe in half.
- Preheat oven to 375^F.
- Pour milk into a microwaveable container and heat until hot.
- Whisk eggs in small bowl and add hot milk to eggs, blend. (I sprinkled a little cinnamon and cloves into the egg-milk mixture)
- Cut French toast into 3/4 inch cubes; place in a large bowl.
- Pour egg mixture over bread cubes, toss gently, set aside.
- Combine ham, turkey, cheese and parsley in a bowl. (I didn’t use parsley)
- Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Layer half the french toast cubes with half the meat mixture in bottom of pan. Repeat.
- Let stand for at least 10 minutes or in the frig overnight.
- Set at room temperature for a few minutes before baking-or bake a little longer if it’s cold.
- Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set in center.
- Cool 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Heat raspberry jam to use as dipping sauce or serve with strawberries and strawberry ice cream topping. We actually dipped our Monte Cristo sandwiches in warm maple syrup, which was awfully good, too.
This casserole is a unique combination of flavors. The sweet of French toast and powdered sugar compliment the savoriness of the ham, turkey and cheese. I served the casserole with O’Brien hash browns. Thinking it would make the perfect New Year’s Eve dinner or New Year’s Day breakfast. Paired with fresh fruit, champagne or mimosas, maybe?
Have you ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich? If so, what did you think? Unique, huh? Like an amped up grilled ham and cheese. Maybe amped isn’t the correct adjective…maybe more like a classy grilled ham and cheese. Very continental. Would love to hear back if you give this recipe a whirl. I think it is something the whole family will love, kids of all ages.
Thank you for stopping by today. Hope you will come back to check out my planned children’s Christmas book post. And I swept out the cobwebs in my fashion haus and played dress up today. Post coming soon.
Hugs and kisses,