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The Count of Brunchy Goodness February 2, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Freezer Meals, random stuff.
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Have you ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich?

I haven’t.  In fact, I still can’t think of it without Alexandre Dumas coming to mind. . . I’d never even heard of such a dish  until just a few years ago – I was cooking in a restaurant, and occasionally, “Monte Cristos” were on the menu as a lunch special.  Since I didn’t start until dinner, well, I was kind of out of luck for the lunch specials.  So, if you’re as uninitiated as I am, Peeps tells me that a “Monte Cristo” is ham, turkey and Swiss cheese on white bread, dipped in egg batter and griddled like French toast, then served with maple syrup.

Sounds kinda weird, doesn’t it?  At least I know it does to me, so I’ve always kind of taken a pass whenever I’ve seen it on the menu at a random diner or “family restaurant.”

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Then things changed.  As you know, Peeps and I ran a meal-prep business a few years ago, and, though we lost an awful lot, one thing we gained was an understanding of how to put together a meal that can be made ahead, frozen, then enjoyed later.  .  . granted, this is something we’d already been doing for years, but this experience brought it to a whole new level.

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What if, instead of frying each sandwich individually, we incorporated the ingredients into a casserole?  A brunchy-type strata sort of thing?

You know, that could work.  And, as it turns out, it does.

Our “Monte Cristo Casserole” is a favorite among all who try it – and with good reason!

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We start with about half a loaf of French bread (what else?), cut into 1-inch cubes – you’re going to want 4 cups of bread cubes.

To that, add 2/3 cups each of diced ham an turkey.  Honestly?  We went to the deli and asked them for a half-inch slice of each – that was just about right.  Why make it complicated?

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Stir the bread cubes and the meat cubes together with a cup each of shredded mozzarella and Swiss cheeses – the Swiss for the flavor and the mozzarella for the cheesiness!

Then you’ll need your liquid mixture.

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Beat together about a dozen eggs (more or less), two cups of milk and some parsley – a teaspoon of dried (if it’s winter) or a Tablespoon of fresh (if it’s available).

Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and stir well, being sure to moisten all the bread.

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Doesn’t that look . . . moist?

Yeah.  At this point, you can either shove it in the fridge for a day or so, or you could dump it into a gallon-size zip-top bag and freeze, to thaw later.

Or if, say, there were only two or three of you, you could divide it in half and put it in two bags to freeze and enjoy later.  Twice.

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We actually made this during the holidays when Surly Boy and my brother were both here, so we opted for the whole-pan scenario.  After all, three guys can get mighty hungry. . .

Pour the whole mess into a 9×13 pan.  Bake, covered, in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes, uncover, and continue baking another 20 minutes, until the cheese is all melty and bubbly and the top starts to brown.

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Cut into about 6 chunks and serve with warmed maple syrup and maybe some fresh fruit . . . mmmmm. . . .

Printable version is here.

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Comments

1. Leah - February 22, 2010

I love Monte Cristo Sandwiches! This is going into the Recipes I want to try file for sure 🙂

I think you’ll like it, Leah – definitely give it a try!


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