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/
I LOVE chicken pot pie! I dont make crusts…LOL. Nor can I buy the store-bought crusts here. With some leftover Costco roasted chicken, I yearned for pie. FYI…Bisquick isn’t available here either. Turning to my trusty Pinterest, I found this recipe. It was awesome!!!! I left out the mushrooms and added chopped red pepper… The diced veggies looked great so I added a photo of them too!
CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
- 4 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 4 ounces button or baby Bella mushrooms, diced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced (I used a can of diced potatoes)
- 1 cup frozen corn (I used a small can )
- 1 cup frozen peas (I used a small can)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- oyster crackers (instead of the crust)
- Heat butter in large stockpot over medium-high heat until melted (or heat the olive oil until it is shimmering). Add onion, carrots, peppers and celery. Saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the flour until it is completely combined, and saute for an additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Gradually add in the chicken stock and milk, stirring frequently. Stir in the chicken, potatoes, corn, peas, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until combined.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer (be careful not to bring it to a boil!), stirring occasionally so that the bottom of the soup does not stick to the pan. Then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering the soup for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and cooked through.
- Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve immediately, with crackers on top or on the side, if desired.
Who does not like shepherd’s pie? There are several variations out there. Sometimes it is called Cottage Pie. This one was a snap! The only tricky part was the roux, melting the butter and adding the flour. Make your life easier and use instant potatoes!
Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 1 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
- 4 cups Mashed Potatoes
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 12 oz. Frozen Peas and Carrots, thawed (Use a can of mixed peas and carrots)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef, onion and garlic.
- Cook until browned and drain.
- In another skillet or pan, melt putter and add flour.
- Cook roux for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in Worcestershire and milk.
- Cook for 1 minute to thicken.
- Combine beef mixture, gravy and thawed vegetables.
- Place in baking dish.
- Top with mashed potatoes and place in oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. In the last few minutes sprinkle the cheese on the potatoes.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
This is an older recipe which I did not realize I had never posted before. I served this with my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork which was posted last year I believe. I served the pork on a ciabatta bun topped with a little sauce, the red onions and slices of avocados. Hope you might try this semi-Mexican dish. FYI…this recipe will last a couple of weeks in the fridge. Drain off the liquid before serving.
And here is the recipe…
Marinated Red Onions (LCBO Food and Drink)
1 lb. red onions sliced (2 large)
2 cups white wine vinegar
¼ cup cilantro sprigs
½ cup lemon OR lime juice
½ cup orange juice
½ tsp. salt
Put all of the ingredients together and marinade for at least 24 hours. The acid cooks down the onions… remember to drain it off before serving.
Serve with my Slow Cooked Pulled Pork!!
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.