Saturday, October 23, 2010

Croque Monsieur - Ina Garten

It's French Saturday here at the Cleaver home and this time I've chosen Hot ham and cheese sandwiches with a Bechamel sauce. I am so proud...this is another GREAT dish! I can't believe I've now made TWO French dishes. Ward and the boys all said it was wonderful and I should definitely make them again. I liked Ina Garten's recipe the best when I was digging for the one I wanted to try.

I will say...the ingredients for these meals are much more than I'm used to paying for our dinners. I try to keep us on a tight grocery budget, so our meals are usually less than $10 to feed all four of us. This one cost about $25...and it was just FOUR sandwiches! We have enough leftover to make 2 more sandwiches tomorrow, but that's still pretty steep for us. That's $4 a sandwich (for 6). On the side, I made "french" fries :) and pickles.

What a great meal! I'm so glad we're trying new things.

I was in the kitchen all day today! I made Mickey Mouse waffles and bacon for breakfast, mini cheeseburgers for lunch, and then the Croque Monsieur for dinner.

I'm exhausted!!!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

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