Italian Style Croque Madame with Leftover Pesto-Bechamel Sauce

20 01 2014

The French have a classic ham and cheese sandwich with bechamel called the croque monsieur….and when they add a fried egg on top, they call it a croque madame. I read somewhere it’s because the fried egg resembles a hat – I love that!

Today’s brunch had more than one muse. First, I was inspired by France because I had leftover pesto-bechamel from a recipe I recently made (see below for link). And secondly by Italy, because I’m taste-testing for an Italian bread company. So this brunch sandwich is a marriage between the two…the idea and sauce is French while the meat, cheese and bread is Italian. 🙂

I’ve been on a blogger review panel for Orlando Baking Company, testing their True Grains breads (see the bottom of this post for other recipes). Their Seed’licious is the final of the three sample breads I received to try, and is my favorite. This bread is coated with millet, as well as flax, sunflower and chia seeds, which not only provides a good source of fiber and protein, it also promotes digestive health. And better yet, this bread offers a nice crunchy texture. A perfect vehicle for a fancy, but healthy grilled ham and cheese! This madame tips her hat to you, Orlando Baking Company!

Italian Style Croque Madame with Leftover Pesto-Bechamel Sauce

Italian Style Croque Madame with Leftover Pesto-Bechamel Sauce

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

Preheat oven to 200.

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium.

Build your sandwiches…spread a little mustard on a slice of bread and add a slice of cheese and then a layer of ham (I used two pieces of prosciutto per sandwich). Spread a little more mustard on a second piece of bread and top the sandwich (mustard-side on top of the ham). Brush some olive oil on the top of the bread and place the olive-oil coated side down in your warmed skillet. While the sandwich starts to cook, brush the other piece of bread (now facing up in your pan) with  a little more olive oil. Cook until the bottom turns a nice golden brown, then flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer to the oven to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the leftover pesto-bechamel sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often until hot.

Spray a little more non-stick spray in the skillet you just used and heat over medium-high. Add eggs (one egg per sandwich) and season with salt and pepper . Fry (untouched) until egg whites set and yolks are still a little runny.

To serve, place a little arugula on the bottom of a plate, top with one sandwich, drizzle with the hot pesto-bechamel sauce and top with a fried egg.

Additional recipes using Orlando True Grains bread:

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Savory Bread Pudding with Spicy Sausage, Gouda, and Sun-Dried Tomato

15 01 2014

Last week I shared that Orlando Baking Company asked me to taste-test their True Grains, 100% whole grain bread and blog about what I thought (https://thisgirlsgottaeat.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts/). Next up in the sample package, their Honey Grain bread, hence this second installment of my taste-testing adventure.

You may think of dessert when you hear bread pudding, but you can make it equally savory as you can sweet (think of it like stuffing). Because this Honey Grain bread is a bit on the sweeter side, I thought it would offset spicy sausage…winner!

Usually bread pudding is made with a crusty loaf of bread or day-old bread, but you can easily turn any bread into a base for bread pudding by simply leaving it out uncovered overnight, or toasting it in the oven. The benefit to using bread like the Honey Grain in a dish like this, is for its nutritional value. Honey Grain is 100% whole grain containing OMEGA 3, which is an essential nutrient that promotes cardiovascular health.

Savory Bread Pudding with Spicy Sausage, Gouda, and Sun-Dried Tomato

Savory Bread Pudding with Spicy Sausage, Gouda, and Sun-Dried Tomato

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Adventures in Cooking):

  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb bulk hot Italian sausage (you could also use mild/sweet)
  • 5 cups dense bread or day-old bread, cubed (since I used a softer bread, Orlando True Grains Honey Grain, I cubed it and toasted in the oven first)
  • 2 and 2/4 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 bag (3.5 oz) julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped – plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or black pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cook the sausage in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly browned and cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, rosemary, salt, red pepper flakes and 1 Tbsp of the fresh parsley. Add the bread, garlic, cooked sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, cheddar, and 3/4 cup of the gouda. Mix and allow to sit, 5 – 30 minutes depending how much time you have, or until the bread is soft and wet.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch rectangular or 10-inch circular casserole dish with non-stick spray and pour the mixture in. Sprinkle the top with the remaining fresh parsley and gouda.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

You could also make this bread pudding as a side dish. If making ahead of time, in the morning for instance…just keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.





Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast With Yogurt, Caramelized Bananas and Nuts

11 01 2014

This past week I was asked to test Orlando Baking Company’s True Grains, 100% whole grain bread. The first one I saw when I opened my package was their Purple Wheat Raisin Bread. Immediately I thought, let’s make a healthy breakfast!

On the weekends, breakfast can be magical! Hello…french toast, need I say more! But french toast can also be more dangerous than you think, often loaded with cholesterol, fat and sugar from excess syrup.

Here’s my healthy rendition…this purple wheat bread has the same nutrients as blueberries, is low fat and has a nutty taste, making it an excellent base for a healthy french toast. Add some spiced Greek yogurt for protein, fruit like bananas, nuts for some crunch, and you have yourself a great weekend breakfast that you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying!

Thanks to Orlando Baking Company for reaching out – stay tuned for more posts on their other True Grains. Now, if I could only become a product tester full-time….  😉

Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast With Yogurt, Caramelized Bananas and Nuts

Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast With Yogurt, Caramelized Bananas and Nuts

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 4-6 slices Orlando True Grains Purple Wheat Raisin Bread (this bread is a little on the smaller side, so depending how hungry you are I’d average 2-3 slices per person)
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Honey
  • Chopped nuts, whatever you have (almonds, pecans, walnuts)

Preheat oven to 200.

Whisk egg whites, almond milk, vanilla, a dusting of cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a shallow dish. Dip bread slices in the mixture until well coated. Since the bread is a bit more delicate, be sure not to over soak it.

Cook dipped bread in a large skillet sprayed liberally with non-stick spray over medium heat until browned on both sides. Transfer cooked bread to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

In the same skillet sprayed with a little more non-stick spray, cook banana slices until browned.

While the bananas are cooking, mix Greek yogurt with a dusting of cinnamon, splash of vanilla extract and a little honey.

To serve, build a napoleon on two plates each with a layer of french toast, dollop of spiced yogurt topped with some caramelized bananas, then repeat layering…french toast, yogurt, bananas. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped nuts.