Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

December seems to be a combo of feeding guests and repurposing leftovers! Use all the leftovers! This ham, cheese, and raspberry jam sandwich on sweet bread is craving your leftover party foods (like that spiral ham) or cheese (remnants from a cheese board)! Sometimes they are ham, turkey, and cheese and the sweet fruity spread is what makes this iconic sandwich.

I made these for a lunch and it brought me back to childhood memories of my Dad ordering the monte cristo at a family favorite restaurant. That sweet bread with salty ham and melty cheese is such a great combo. Restaurants deep fry it but this is quickly pan fried without the hassle of battering the whole sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

Psssst. I used challah bread for this (and you can use leftover challah for this french toast too!)

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese (for 2)

Ingredients:

4 slices of challah bread
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
2 slices of white cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
4 slices of ham

Directions:

Slice the bread and spread one side with raspberry jam. Then layer American on the other side, then ham, then cheddar to assemble the sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

Preheat a griddle or frying pan.
Lightly spread the outside with butter/oil/mayo and lay that side onto the pan.
Cook for a few minutes and spread the other side.
Carefully flip and cook for a few minutes more. Cover for the last minute to ensure the cheese all melts.
Slice and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

I loved this! The bread is so delightfully soft and sweet, especially with the jam, but the salty ham and melty cheese makes the best contrast here. The American cheese gives that melt factor and the cheddar gives good flavor. A sprinkle of powdered sugar would be beautiful. The bread is decadent. I didn’t make it as French toast, but that’s another way to do it. These would be tasty brunch elements if you’re using ingredients up or wanting to serve something without eggs! My toddler wasn’t home but I can see him liking aspects of this…maybe it would be a good reinforcement for ham since he’s not 100% gung-ho about all sandwich meat.

What I Ate: Loaded Nacho Waffle Fries

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

You neeeed this super easy and fun dinner in your rotation for December. It is delicious, a great use of leftovers, and couldn’t be easier. What else could you look for from a weeknight dinner!? We have something Mexican about once a week so I popped a small portion of pulled pork into the freezer for occasions such as this. Add gather some queso sauce, tomato, avocado, green onion, salsa, and cheese onto waffle fries and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Taco night gets recreated for a whole different feel. I’m working to ensure foods aren’t always the same for my little one…I don’t want him thinking tacos are always one way, or cheese is always in string form, etc. Having tacos/burritos/quesadillas/etc help ensure he sees ingredients he’s familiar with in another format so it is still approachable. I took a similar tactic for a recent salami & cheese calzone being his fav sandwich flavors. I have adventurous eaters in our family, but doesn’t everyone just want a crowd-pleasing, slam-dunk of a dinner in the rotation, right?
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries

Pssst. These would totally fill a group for a weekend lunch, after sledding, as a quick meal before some festive holiday gathering, or watching a game (<- jeez, I sound like I host football parties non-stop. I just like how those games bring out the snacks!).

Loaded Nacho Waffle Fries

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

3/4 bag frozen waffle fries
~1 cup pulled pork (or pulled chicken or taco meat)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup salsa con queso
1 avocado, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:

Bake the fries according to the package.
While they bake to a crisp, pan fry the shredded pork to brown a bit and warm the queso.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the waffle fries and return to the oven to melt.
Drizzle some queso onto the fries and top with pork.
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
Serve and offer the toppings of tomatoes, avocado, green onions, and salsa as a top-your-own station, or top the whole platter and let everyone dig in.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
These are plate and fork nachos, which are the very best kind! They are truly loaded and so filling- as in, ours were on salad plates instead of dinner plates! Loaded waffle fries are definitely enough to be a meal. Our toddler thought it was a super fun dinner! I’d argue that the baked fries aren’t really a far reach health-wise from the rest of it being a taco or regular nachos. These are more filling so plan portions accordingly!

This uses up the remainder of queso and a small amount of pork & cheese so it reminded me not to underestimate what can become a meal! Vegetarian-ize them swapping pork with black beans and saute some bell peppers or add whatever toppings would go in your tacos!