We first had this in Paris, France at Fouquet on the Champs d’Elysee and subsequently in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico at the wonderful Merci Restaurant. Merci is better with their homemade bread! Trust me! Below is the version I use at home.
A Croque-Monsieur is the French answer to the grilled cheese sandwich. Gruyere cheese, ham, and bread are topped with a creamy Béchamel sauce.
Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes
8 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dijon mustard for spreading
4 slices ham
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (you can also use Emmenthal or other Swiss-style cheese)
OPTIONAL – 4 eggs
Toast the bread until lightly browned on one side.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until thick and bubbly. Gradually whisk in the milk, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Whisk in the paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm while your assemble the sandwiches.
Lay four slices of bread, toasted side down on a broiler pan. Brush each one with Dijon mustard, to taste. Lay one slice of ham on each piece . Divide 1/2 cup cheese among the four sandwiches. Top with the second slice of bread, toastier side up. Divide the sauce among the four sandwiches, spreading it over the top. Add one fried egg per sandwich. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sandwiches.
Broil until the cheese is melted and the tops are bubbly and brown, five minutes or more in my toaster oven. Watch it carefully; yours may be different. Serve immediately.
I like to serve it with a small salad or grilled asparagus.
Link to recipe: http://goodcheapeats.com/2015/02/how-to-make-a-croque-monsieur/
Eureka! Shrimp in the freezer. What to do? Checked the ingredients I had on hand and found this recipe for dinner. The worst part is cleaning the shrimp, so just cheat and buy them already cleaned and deveined…LOL. Substitute whatever protein you have available. As always, my changes are in red lettering.
Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta
- 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes ( one can of diced with juice depending on how much you like tomatoes)
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 small lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
- 10 oz fettuccine pasta
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it’s cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
- To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
- In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
- Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don’t add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
- To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.
One of the things I miss a lot is corned beef hash, especially Shopsys in Toronto! Recently I found myself with a couple of sausages left over from my Sausage and Roasted Pepper Bake. You are probably tired of my referencing Pinterest, but really it is an awesome site. The following recipe was straight forward and turned out great for our Sunday breakfast.
Best of all is that it is a one dish meal!!! Hope you will try it…
- 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (pork works well too)
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (I used two cans of diced potatoes)
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup of Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
- 4 or 6 large eggs
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- In a large heavy covered (or oven-proof) skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage to the pan, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Sauté until brown – around 5 – 7 minutes. Remove the sausage to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and saute until brown – about 10 minutes or so.
- Add the onion, bell peppers, minced jalapeno, and the smoked paprika. Saute and cook until soft – about 5 – 7 minutes.
- To the potato mixture, add the cooked sausage and the cheese and season to taste. Mix well.
- Crack the eggs onto the hash mixture. Cover with a lid and cook until the eggs are set – about 8 – 10 minutes. In the alternative, if you wanted to cook them in the oven, place the skillet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are done to your liking.
The problem with having a small gas BBQ is not being able to do a beer can chicken because the lid is too low! For those who do not know what I am speaking about, normally one places a seasoned chicken upside down over a full, but open beer can. NOT alive sillies!!! The hot juices from the can permeate the bird as it cooks. Pinterest to the rescue again.
Slow Cooker Beer Can Chicken (without the beer can!)
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons coarse pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 (6-inch) strips aluminum foil, each bunched into a ball
- 1 can (16 ounces) beer
- 1 (6 1/2 to 7 pound) whole chicken
- Mix smoked paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
- Place 4 balls of aluminum foil on bottom of slow cooker crock. Pour beer into crock.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry.
- Rub chicken with seasoning mixture. Place chicken on top of foil in crock.
- Cover slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5 to 7 hours. Chicken is well done when meat temperature registers 165°F in the breast or 175°F-180°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
- USDA recommends 165°F as the safe eating temperature for chicken. Chicken is done when meat temperature registers 165°F in the breast or 175°F-180°F in the thickest part of the thigh. For more information on food safety, visit foodsafety.gov.
Here is a straightforward recipe for a quick meal. I came across it in our local Costco magazine this month and decided to give it a try. My suggested changes are in red as always.
Pollo al Coco (Chicken with Coconut)
- MIX together –
1 teaspoon cumin. 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon cilantro
- BLEND into –
4 pieces of chicken cut into cubes ( I used thighs)
- COOK in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through
- ADD –
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 small chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
2 jalapeno chilies minced without seeds (can be omitted)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
SAUTE to blend the spices with the chicken
- ADD –
1 can cubed tomatoes
- SIMMER 7 to 10 minutes, stirring very frequently.
- ADD –
400 ml of coconut milk (next time I would use coconut cream to make a thicker sauce)
- HEAT through…
SERVE over rice…sprinkle with chopped parsley
Potatoes Chambray with Rosemary
This baked rosemary potato recipe is so quick and easy to put together. The flavor of the rosemary, combined with the olive oil and seasonings, make this a very tasty side dish.
1 1/2 kg young yellow potatoes, peeled ( 2-3 pounds)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 Tablespoons rosemary, fresh minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pieces of garlic..why not?
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Line an oven proof dish with aluminum foil.
Wash and peel the potatoes. For years now I hardly ever peel my potatoes…just wash. Dry them with a paper towel and place them into a mixing bowl.
Stir the olive oil together with the rosemary, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper and drizzle onto the potatoes. Toss to coat them as evenly as possible.
Place the potatoes into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the potatoes over at 20 minutes so both sides of the potatoes brown.
Trying out a new look for 2015…hope you like it!
We were in Cuba in February and came to enjoy the red beans and rice. Looking for a similar dish, I found a recipe for Cajun Red Beans and Rice on my friend Kevin’s site www.closetcooking.com
I used a smoked pancetta as Andouille is not common down here. The flavour was great. This recipe makes enough for four hungry people!
Cajun Red Beans and Rice (adapted from http://www.closetcooking.com)
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1/2 pound Andouille sausage or smoked Pancetta (cut into small pieces)
• 1 cup onion (diced)
• 1/2 cup celery (diced)
• 1/2 cup green pepper (diced)
• 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
• 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
• 2 (19 ounce) cans red beans (rinsed and drained)
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 cups cooked rice (I like to go with Basmati)
1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat add the sausage and sauté until lightly golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, and set aside.
2. Add the onions, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the stock, beans, sausage/pancetta, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for at least 1 hour
6. Remove the bay leaves.
7. Mash or puree about a quarter of the beans if desired.
If you feel there is too much liquid, just let it simmer down.
Just before serving add the cooked rice.
The only recipe I ever knew placed the pork chops on top and they always were too well cooked! This method probably originated when there were all the concerns about pork not being well cooked. Fortunately, I came across three different recipes that changed this arrangement. These turned out very well and the liquid went all the way through to keep the chops moist.
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons flour
14 oz. chicken broth
6 pork chops not too thin
6 cups thinly sliced potatoes (choose skins on or off)
1/2 cup sliced onions or more
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 cup sour cream
Set the oven to 350 degrees
Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter, adding salt and pepper, flour, Dijon mustard and thyme. Pour in the broth, cook and stir until it boils. Remove from heat and add the sour cream.
Brown chops in 1 Tablespoon of butter.
Grease cooking dish with butter.
Layer the chops in the bottom of the dish. Layer the potatoes and onions over the chops evenly.
Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
Uncover and continue to bake 1/2 hour more until starting to golden.