I have decided that this will be my year of make-ahead recipes. The more I can cook ahead, the less stress I'll have because I'll be able to pull things from the fridge and warm them up.
I actually baked my first recipe along these lines on the same day I put it together (so much for the make-ahead plans). The author, Jenny Huang at TheKitchn.com recommends letting it stand overnight in the fridge. Even better! I found this recipe in a group of make-ahead breakfast recipes. While it makes a nice breakfast, I think it also works for lunch, an after school snack, and dinner!
Jenny came up with a creative way to serve Croque-Monsieur as a casserole. For those of you not familiar with the original sandwich, it's the French version of a ham and cheese sandwich with mustard. It's generally grilled and crispy outside with cheese on top.
I had overnight company coming and thought it would make a great breakfast dish, especially for the cheese lover in the group. But Jenny's recipe makes enough for eight or ten servings, and I didn't need that much. So I cut it down. And I'm a fan of ham, so I doubled that.
Traditionally, a Dijon mustard is used, but I used a horseradish mustard that I like. It's worth noting that the mustard is powerful in this dish, so use one that you like. Jenny also put arugula on top, but it was so pretty that I hesitated to do that. Serve a salad on the side instead.
It re-heats well on the second day but be sure to let it get piping hot inside again. Use a square or rectangular baking dish to fit everything in.
Baked Croque-Monsieur Casserole
slightly modified from Jenny Huang's TheKitchn
1/2 tablespoon butter, for coating the baking dish
6 ounces crusty bread, cut into 6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
2 teaspoons horseradish mustard
1 cup 2% milk
4 large eggs (I used 2 large and 2 large, but smaller)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
8-10 ounces thinly sliced ham
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, divided
8 x 8 baking dish.
Butter the baking dish.
Cut 1/2-inch slices of bread. It's best if the bread is sandwich size, so slice in half if necessary. Spread mustard on one side of each slice of bread. Place slices in the baking dish, mustard side up.
Whisk together milk, eggs, pepper, and salt. Pour half of it over the bread in the pan. Lay slices of ham on each piece of bread. (It's easier to cut and serve if you don't overlap it onto other slices.) Sprinkle half the Gruyere over the bread. Lay the slices (matching in shape if possible) over top of the cheese, mustard-side down.
Pour the rest of the milk mixture over the bread, trying to coat them all. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.
Bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes. The cheese on top should be golden brown.
|Spread bread with mustard.|
|Whisk milk, eggs, salt, and pepper.|
|Add 1/2 the milk mixture, coating the bread.|
|Add slices of ham. Two slices if you're like me!|
|Sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese.|
|Top with remaining bread.|
|Pour over the remaining milk and top with cheese.|
|Beautifully golden brown and crusty!|