Breakfast for Dinner: Monte Cristo style!

I had my first Monte Cristo sandwich my freshman year of college. We were on a training trip to Mission Veijo, California and in between practices one day a few teammates and I ventured to a restaurant near the hotel called Sugar Shack. After we discovered that place I think at least 5 members of the team were there for lunch every day.

University of Scranton Swim Team '04-'05 in California

*Sorry guys, I just had to post this. Just a little nostalgia!

I was never a big breakfast person, but it’s slowly been growing on me. The Monte Cristo is a good middle ground dish; it’s a little breakfast with the French toast style bread, and also lunch/dinner-like with the ham and cheese.

I found this particular recipe on Serious Eats‘s “Dinner Tonight” section and took out the strawberry preserves and mustard. I’d never heard of either on that particular sandwich, and I’m not big on jelly and my fiancé won’t eat mustard (or mayo). I also couldn’t find gruyere cheese at ShopRite – their cheese display is confusing. I did, however, find chipotle Gouda so I snagged that. I know Gouda isn’t the best for melting, but since it’s my all time favorite cheese, I didn’t care.

After a solid 3.1 miles regretfully on the treadmill (thanks a lot mother nature!) I set to work on the sandwiches. The recipe didn’t specify what type of bread to use, so at the store on Monday I grabbed a big crusty loaf of Italian bread. I cut the slices on the thicker side, to make it a little gourmet looking. I cut a few slices of the chipotle gouda, and added about a slice and a half of smoked ham. In terms of the French toast part, I followed the instructions for the mixture and ran with it. Since I know gouda isn’t the best melty cheese (thank you Bobby Flay’s Throw Down episode on grilled cheese), after I cooked them on each side to a golden crisp, I threw them in the oven for 5 minutes to assist in the melting.

We paired the sandwiches with some tater tots and a salad, and we were stuffed. We had plans to tackle another cupcake from Monday, but we were just too full.

Even though I’m not a huge breakfast fan (gasp!) I would absolutely make this again. It’s definitely the type of recipe you can play with in terms of different ham and cheese types, and I like that flexibility! Now if only I could transfer that flexibility to my legs. Boy they’re tight!

Monte Cristo
– Serves 2 –

4 slices bread
6 slices ham
2 slices gruyere cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoon milk
Pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

1. Smear some mustard on two slices of bread. Top each with three slices of ham, one slice of cheese, and a slice of bread.
2. Whisk together the egg, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a shallow pan.
3. Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture, making sure to evenly coat both sides.
4. Add the butter to a large skillet set over medium heat. When melted, add the sandwiches and cook on both sides until browned.
5. Sprinkle with the sugar, and serve with the strawberry jam.

Happy breakfast, lunch, and dinner nomzing!

Pumpkin Part 2: French Toast Style

The promise for this post is two-fold: on my first Pumpkin post, I promised to document each of my experiences with all things involving pumpkin throughout the fall. In my most recent post, I vowed to share my own kitchen cooking experiences with you, the lucky reader.

That being said, I tackled both this fine Sunday morning.

The recipe for the Pumpkin French Toast fell deliciously in my lap. Well, it was shared by one of my boyfriend’s friends on Google Reader, which he immediately forwarded to me, in which I quickly replied that would be our Sunday morning. The recipe comes from Recipe Girl, who actually has quite a few other tasty looking recipes I’ll probably sample at one point or another.

But back to the task at hand, my Pumpkin French Toast.


It was a pretty simple recipe, just time consuming in terms of preparing all of the ingredients and then cooking them; as my pan only fit about 3 pieces of the bread at a time. I forgot to grab some cinnamon, so that was missing from the recipe, but the Cinnamon Toast Crunch coating easily made up for it.


My only qualms with the recipe were it’s bread size suggestion, and amount of pumpkin. It calls for 3/4 to 1 inch thick slices of French bread. I have to say, that was a little too thick for my liking – the pumpkin coating didn’t really soak through, and made it a little more difficult to cook quickly. Surprisingly for both my boyfriend and I, we thought the pumpkin flavor could have been a little more subtle. I was surprised that only 3/4 of a cup of pumpkin puree could be so strong. But it was!!

After all of the pieces were made, we threw it together with some turkey bacon and smothered it in maple syrup. I can honestly say that for someone who up until recently despised pumpkin, never really liked breakfast food, and never would have chosen French toast when given the option, I was impressed with myself. I quickly noted during the whole process that one of the best parts of cooking with pumpkin is the color. It’s such a rich combination of yellow and orange, an when mixed with different ingredients (such as eggs and whipping cream), it is truly a beautiful color. Now that I come to think if it, it’s shade is quite close to that of my living room. No wonder I enjoy that room so much…

This is definitely a recipe I’ll be revisiting in the future. I think it would also be delicious as a dessert with some ice cream and maybe whipped cream as well.