What I love about this recipe is that it challenges you to identify and enjoy each of the distinctive layers in this Ham & Cheese Bake. Another thing I love about this recipe is that it is soo simple to make – you just layer the ingredients and bake. One could even call it a baked ham & cheese sandwich. And taking it a step further, categorizing it as an open-faced Monte Cristo sandwich. I believe it qualifies – slightly. These are all good names, some describing this dish better than others. Let’s compare ingredients to get right down to it.
|Comparisons per single serving * indicates no ingredient match|
|Ham & Cheese Bake||Ham & Cheese Sandwich||Monte Cristo|
|1 slice bread||2 slices bread||2 slices bread|
|1 to 1 ½ slices ham||1 to 2 slices of ham||1 to 2 thick slice of ham|
|1/4 cup variety of cheeses, grated||1 slice Swiss cheese||1 slice gruyere cheese|
|1 thin slice of onion||*||*|
|2 stalks of asparagus||*||*|
|*||Mayo||Mayo & Mustard|
According to Wikipedia:
Ham & Cheese Sandwich: “A ham and cheese sandwich is a common type of sandwich. It is made by putting cheese and sliced ham between two slices of bread. The bread is sometimes buttered and/or toasted. Vegetables like lettuce, tomato, onion or pickle slices can also be included. Various kinds of mustard and mayonnaise are also common.”
Monte Cristo Sandwich: “is an egg-dipped ham and cheese sandwich that is pan or deep fried, a variation of the French croque-monsieur. In the 1930s–1960s, American cookbooks had recipes for this sandwich under such names as “French sandwich”, “toasted ham sandwich”, and “French toasted cheese sandwich”.
According to me (haha):
Ham & Cheese Bake: Some people consider this version a casserole, however, I do not. I think of it as a ham and cheese sandwich on steroids (kudos to extra vegetables included) conveniently baked (not fried).
So let’s see how this sandwich stacks up!
Layer bread in a baking dish. I didn’t plan ahead and chose the wrong size dish for 4 portions, but it all worked out.
Thin slices of onion top the bread.
Asparagus and seasonings are the next layer.
Ah the ham! I used deli sliced ham but ham slices leftover from a chunk of ham would be nice too.
The last layer is the cheese. I used three cheeses (swiss, mozzerella and cheddar). Photo only shows one cheese.
Layered and baked. I left it in the oven a little too long so it is more golden than I wanted, but that didn’t affect the taste.
Layers of goodness melt in your mouth.
An easy meal for any night of the week! So layer away and enjoy!