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/
This is a great and easy accompaniment to a great steak and maybe a potato! Can you tell this by the photo?
Great for BBQ season as well…
GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND FETA
- 3/4 to 1 pound of fresh green beans (stem end snipped off), washed
- 4 heaping tablespoons feta cheese
- juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add about 1/2 inch of water to a medium-sized sauté pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add beans, cover and continue to cook on medium-high for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender but still crispy.
- Drain and return to pan. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Place green beans on a plate and sprinkle with feta, then lemon juice, then pepper (and salt if desired).
- Serve immediately. (But they are also pretty great cold!)
Okay Cousin Bonnie, here is the salad recipe you asked for…it was yummy!
Lemony Chickpea, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe by Michela Chiappa from Michela’s Tuscan Kitchen
600g ripe tomatoes (I just drained a can of diced tomatoes)
1 small bunch fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
small handful walnuts
½ jar good quality chickpeas (about 300g)
pinch of dried cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 good handfuls of arugula
1 small round of crumbly, soft goat’s cheese
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. Rip in most if the basil leaves, keep the baby leaves to one side. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.
- Place a small frying pan on a low heat, add the walnut halves and cook for 5 minutes until toasted and smelling delicious. When ready tip into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, drain and the chickpeas. Add the cumin, oregano, lemon zest and half the juice and a drizzle of oil. Toss together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas to the tomatoes and toss together. Add the arugula and crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts.
I have always remembered this soup from my adolescent years for some reason. I was looking for something different for dinner with friends in place of a salad. Too warm for regular hot soup and we happened to have a box of strawberries in the fridge. Pinterest showed me this wonderful and simple recipe!
TIP – Whether it’s a salad or cold soup, I always freeze my bowls before serving time!
Chilled Strawberry Soup
Author: This Mess Is Ours Prep time: 2 hours 15 mins
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins Serves: 4 cups
This soup only takes about 15 minutes of time to prepare but be sure to let it chill for 2 hours before serving so that the flavors intensify.
- 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, preferably organic
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup white grape juice (or white wine)
- 3 tablespoons raw honey (one tablespoon was sufficient)
- freshly ground black pepper
- sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 or 2 radishes, cut into thin shreds with a grater or mandoline
- fresh mint
- In a food processor or high powered blender process the 3 cups of sliced strawberries, Greek yogurt, white grape juice, and honey until smooth. Stopping periodically to scrape the sides. Cover and chill for 1½- 2 hours. Garnish with freshly ground pepper, sliced strawberries, shredded radishes, and bits of mint. Serve immediately. NB…dont skip the radishes, they were awesome!
In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!
About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.
150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)
1 medium egg, beaten
50g feta cheese or more
25g freshly grated parmesan or more
- Preparing the Aubergines
Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.
Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.
You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.
After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.
Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.
Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.
I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.
- Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)
Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.
Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.
Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe
It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.
- Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!
Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.
Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.
Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.
First had this Vietnamese noodle soup in San Francisco, The portions they served were a little large, but awesome.
Spicy Shrimp Pho (http://chefsavvy.com/spicy-shrimp-pho/)
Prep time 10 mins Cook time 20 mins Total time 30 mins Serves: 4
- 4 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti (I substituted rice noodles for a less heavy Pho)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
- 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced thin
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces large shrimp, uncooked
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Cook spaghetti until al dente (or prepare rice noodles according to package)
- Meanwhile add oil to a large pot or dutch oven.
- Add garlic, jalapeno and green onions. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in chicken stock, fish sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in mushrooms and shrimp. Simmer until the mushrooms are tender and the shrimp is fully cooked.
- Take off of the heat and stir in pepper, lime juice, and cilantro.
- Divide the noodles among the 4 bowls and pour the soup on top.
- Garnish with extra lime wedges and cilantro if desired.
Still time to prepare this wonderful quiche for Easter morning, friends!Its not all that difficult, if you start with a refrigerated crust. Make sure to really clean the leeks well, as they often have dirt hidden inside!! Serve with some ice fresh strawberries…
Could also be good to use up that leftover ham after Easter!
Caramelized Leek, Parmesan and Ham Quiche
- 1 3/4 oz. Ham
- 1 Leek
- 1 Egg wash
- 2 Eggs,
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Red wine vinegar
- 10 slices Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup Cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup Cream
- 1/3 cup milk
Prepare the caramelized leek. Clean the leek and peel off the top layer of skin. Cut in half length-ways then finely slice width ways. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and gently cook the leek for a few minutes until soft. Add the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Stir for another couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved and set aside to cool.
Prick the bases of the pie shell with a fork about a dozen times evenly around the base. Place on a tray and into the oven for the time recommended on the package.
Remove the pie shell from the oven. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove, brush the shell with egg wash and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Remove the quiche from the oven. Evenly distribute the shaved ham and caramelized leek evenly over the crust. Sprinkle over the grated cheese. In a mixing bowl whisk together the 2 eggs, ⅓ cup of milk and ⅓ cup of cream. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jug and carefully pour into the pie shell. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
My mom always instructed me to snap off the bottoms of the asparagus stalks when I was a kid as they were never tender and I still follow that rule. She always threw them away in the garbage! I have started to save the end pieces by putting them in a freezer bag for latter use…i.e. soup! This latest find for soup combines two strong flavours – asparagus and garlic. This recipe can be served cold by putting it in the fridge the next day OR serving hot. The former is more of a asparagus gazpacho. The latter is great with some shaved Parmesan cheese added after serving.
I would be interested in your opinion…
Roasted Garlic and Asparagus Soup
- 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup 2% milk
- cracked pepper and chopped parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- Toss asparagus and garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange asparagus and garlic on prepared baking sheet in one layer.
- Roast for 12 minutes, or until asparagus is soft, stirring once.
- Remove from oven and transfer asparagus and garlic to a blender. (I never blend it all as I like it a bit chunky).
- Add broth and milk.
- Blend until smooth. Depending on how large your blender is, you might have to do this part in batches.
- Transfer soup to a soup pot.
- Warm soup over medium-high heat, thinning with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired.
- Season with salt and pepper. Continue to taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- Ladle into bowls.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
We are back! On March 10th we flew with two friends to Mexico City for three days and then we flew over to Puerto Vallarta for a few more days to visit with our friends who have moved over there last year. A bonus was seeing our old friends Bruce and Mary who we had last seen four years ago. FYI…Bruce and Mary have a wonderful blog Set Free in Mexico https://setfreeinmexico.com/ if you want to read about their adventures.
Today’s recipe is an easy one…mix the marinating ingredients and pour over the chops, refrigerating for 6 hours or so. After that, just BBQ…
Marinated Grilled Pork Chops
- 4 to 6 pork chops
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard or gourmet mustard blend
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Wash chops and pat dry. Put in a large food storage bag. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the chops. Seal the bag and turn to coat the pork chops. Refrigerate for *3 to 6 hours, turning occasionally.
- Grill the chops over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until the chops register about 160° on an instant read thermometer.
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.