Grilled cheese is one of those sandwiches that’s good for lunch or dinner, but sometimes a sandwich just isn’t filling enough. That’s when it’s time to pull out a casserole dish and turn that sandwich into something special that’s filling, too.
I adore Paula Deen. The way she talks, the way she acts and especially the way she cooks. Why do I love her cooking, you ask? Well, that’s because the woman uses so much butter and cream, every one of her dishes is the ultimate comfort food. So of course, she’d tackle one of my favorite comfort foods and make it even better. No, it’s not macaroni and cheese, though that is definitely in my top five. No, my favorite comfort food has to be the grilled cheese sandwich.
While my favorite version of the classic sandwich is sliced American melted over heirloom tomatoes on a nice thick wheat bread, I’m more than happy to substitute… well… just about any cheese under the sun. So when Paula (yes I feel like I know her well enough to call her by her first name) decided to take a grilled cheese and turn it into a casserole, I knew I was going to love it. And Oh. My. God. I was so right. Yes, she added ham and used Gruyere instead of American, but it was absolutely out of this world. It was so good in fact, it may have knocked grilled cheese out of the top spot on my favorite comfort foods list. One bite and I bet it’ll be on your list of favorites, too.
Croque Monsieur casserole
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 10 slices white bread
- 3/4 pound deli ham
- 1-1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
- Melt butter in a large pan over low heat until bubbling. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. Slowly add the milk and cook until thick and bubbling, about five minutes. Whisk in the Dijon, salt, pepper and nutmeg until just combined.
- Pour a thin layer of butter mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover it with five slices of bread. Lay the slices of ham on the bread and cover with an even layer of cheese. Repeat the layers once more, ending with a third layer of the butter mixture to cover it all. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven, cut into six pieces and serve immediately.