Monte Cristo Casserole
CrockPot Gourmet for the Frantic Chef: recipe by Veronica Bartles
A Monte Cristo is kind of like a club sandwich (ham, turkey and Swiss), dipped in an egg and milk mixture, fried like French toast, and then served with raspberry jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. It's absolutely delicious... and a pain to put them together for an entire family. As you know, this, as far as I'm concerned, the perfect time to break out the crock pot and put together a dish that gives similar flavor/texture with minimal effort from me. So of course, that's what I did.
Spread jam liberally on each piece of bread (about 1/2 to 1 Tbsp per slice, depending on your personal preference). - You can skip this step, if you'd like and simply serve the finished "sandwiches" with a large dollop of raspberry jam, but I've discovered that adding the jam into the preparation process reduces the prep and mess when it comes to serving. And with kids, this is critical.
Spray the crock with a thin coat of cooking oil, and then line the bottom with bread, jam side up. You may have to use partial pieces of bread in the empty spaces to fill in the whole layer. I find that it's much less mess if I cut the bread to fit before I add the jam! (I like to use the ends of the loaf for this layer, as they tend to hold up better, but that choice is up to you.)
Layer with 1/4 lb. sliced turkey
(It works best if you loosely fold the slices as you layer them. This leaves air pockets to allow the egg/milk mixture to penetrate all layers later.)
Add 1/4 lb. sliced ham
Then 1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
Add another layer of bread and jam. (On this, and ALL subsequent layers, make sure the bread is jam side DOWN!)
Repeat these layers 4 times, until you've filled your Crock Pot. (I often manage to fill it all the way to the top for this recipe. This is okay, as long as you're careful in pouring the liquid in later.)
Break six eggs into a large measuring/mixing bowl. (The measurement markings on the side of the bowl make the next step so much easier, so use this type of bowl if at all possible!)
Whisk in 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, 1 c. powdered milk and enough water to bring the total liquid mixture to 4 cups. (The amount of water may vary slightly, depending on your eggs, so just gradually pour it in until the entire mixture reaches the 4c. mark on your mixing bowl.)
Slowly pour the mixture over the casserole, allowing it time to sink in to all layers.
Press down on the top layer slightly, to make sure all of the bread is covered in milk/egg mixture.
Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Slice the "sandwich" and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar (and melted raspberry jam, if you skipped the jam step in the preparation.)
Recipe by Veronica Bartles
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