Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cheese Monkey—by Riley Adams

October 2011 016 Growing up, my mother and grandmother would serve me a dish called cheese monkey. None of the adults ever really explained to me why it was called cheese monkey, and I think I ate it with some degree of suspicion the first time I put it in my mouth. That suspicion was quickly dispelled when I realized it was basically a cheese soufflé.


Now, this isn’t the same as monkey bread, which y’all have probably eaten. Not the same, but it does share some similarities. Monkey bread is made with balls of dough that give the treat a bumpy appearance and is meant to be pulled apart (with, I guess, the same approach a monkey might take to eat it!) Cheese monkey is made with slices of bread that give it the same bumpy, easy to pull-apart appearance. But monkey bread is sweet and cinnamon-y and meant for dessert or a sweet breakfast. Cheese monkey is definitely more of a side or main dish.

Again, this recipe is easy, easy, easy. The longer part of the prep is the time it spends in the oven. Best part? It’s even better the next day. :)

My old recipe uses whole milk and heavy cream. I make it with 1% milk and half and half. I have a feeling you could also use egg substitute, if you wanted. Of course, the bread and cheese still make this a high-calorie treat, but you can cut down on some of it. I like a lot of cheese, but you could also reduce the amount and it would still be yummy.

Cheese Monkey

1 1/2- 2 cups cubed Swiss cheese
Slightly less than 1 loaf sliced French or Sourdough bread
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup half and half
5 well-beaten eggs
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dry mustard

Preheat oven to 375. Spray the bottom of a rectangular Pyrex dish. Layer bread, then cheese for 2 layers. Combine milk, half and half, eggs, wine, salt, and dry mustard and pour over the bread and cheese mixture. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is cooked away.

October 2011 022

Hope you’ll enjoy a little Southern comfort in the form of cheese monkey!


Finger Lickin’ Dead (Riley Adams)
Hickory Smoked Homicide (preorder book 3!)

Progressive Dinner Deadly ($2.99 on Kindle—Elizabeth Craig)


  1. I have got to get a good grocery list going and start making some of these recipes-they sound so fantastic. I adore cheese-but am not fond of Swiss-so I think I'll try this recipe with another cheese. I also use whole milk...but maybe I'll do half and half instead of cream. A slight nod to be a little more health/calorie conscious!

  2. This does sound good. Like Katreader I too am not that fond of swiss. I will try it for sure.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  3. Katreader--I nip at the calories when I can, but it's hard when the recipes are so good as-written (in the 1950s!) You know, I bet any cheese would be great with this. I'm not sure when I started doing Swiss with it.

    BusyMom--Tasty and easy! I'm sure I had cheddar cheese growing up...we wouldn't have had Swiss in the house.

  4. What a great recipe, like a savory bread pudding. Love the story and the name of the dish is so much fun. I'll bet some chopped broccoli would be a good addition, too.

    ~ Cleo

  5. Cleo--It's very similar to a bread pudding, too--the second day it's a bit more like quiche in texture, but the first it's a little looser. And tasty!

  6. Holy Smokin' Rockets!!!! This is like baked cheese fondue! I am now making a list and we are having this tonight...our nice warm Fall weather has is now raining leaves in the front yard and in lieu of closing the windows I have wrapped up in a blanket. This will be perfect for tonight...and breakfast tomorrow :-)

    Thanks Elizabeth!!!!!


  7. I have a loaf of French bread in the freezer and we recently received another gift basket of cheeses from Houston Dairymaids (wonderful handmade cheeses)so I'll use the Gruyere from it for the Cheese Monkey. Love the name! I'm a total rat for cheese. Thanks, Elizabeth!

  8. WOW..made it for dinner and it is wonderful!!! I did add a bit of garlic and some Havarti. We had pork sausage on the side. This is a keeper, Elizabeth..the entire crew here at Chez Phillipe say Merci!!!

  9. What kid (or adult) wouldn't love this. It's on the list, Elizabeth! The name just makes it more fun.

  10. Lynn in Texas--Sounds like the perfect plan! Hope you'll enjoy it, Lynn. :)

    Nanc--How cool is that?! Glad you enjoyed it and I love your changes! Harvarti and garlic cheese monkey sounds wonderful! Can't wait to give it a try. :)

    Mary Jane--Thanks so much, MJ!

  11. I am so intrigued by this, Elizabeth! I have to try it!

    ~ Krista