croque monsieur paninis

these croque monsieur paninis have everything there is to love about croque monsieur PLUS everything there is to love about paninis:  creamy béchamel, salty ham, melty & gooey swiss cheese & good, chewy french sourdough grilled & pressed to golden perfection.  a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter leftovers or entertain a couple of girlfriends for a weekend lunch (just don’t forget the rosé!).croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |

 can we talk about guilty pleasures for a second?

like, the embarrassing, i-can’t-believe-i’m-admitting-this kind of guilty pleasures?

ok.  i’ll go first.

i have a major thing for stupid, feel-good rom coms.  & this might not seem too embarrassing on the surface, but there’s also the fact that sometimes i’ll get into a mood & i know nothing’s going to fix it other than laying by myself in bed watching a rom com & crying my face off. 

& while i’ll never turn down a good old nicholas sparks movie, my favorites are kinds of rom coms with a strong female lead amidst a life/identity crisis & needs to re-find herself.  i like to think that the scripts & storylines, albeit a teeny tiny bit predictable, are intelligent & witty.  like…the holiday.  & crazy, stupid, love.  or eat, pray, love.  or in her shoes.  & the devil wears prada

so cheesy, i know.  can we still be friends?

i’ll be the first to own up to the fact that that these movies aren’t the greatest stories ever, or the most well-produced films for that matter.  hence, guilty pleasure…but sometimes you just need to shut your brain off & feel your feelings, okay?croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |

one of my favorite movies falling into this category is it’s complicated.  you know, the 2009 nancy meyers rom com with meryl streep & alec baldwin & steve martin & john krasinski?  (& actually, it’s just one of my favorite movies, period.  much to chris’ demise i own 2 copies of it.  he’s asked me to get rid of the 2nd copy for as long as i can remember & is baffled when i tell him i can’t because it’s one of my favorite movies.)

if it’s complicated isn’t not ringing a bell, allow me to bring you up to speed: this is the one where meryl’s character, a successful ina-esque restaurateur, finally recovered from her divorce but starts to have an affair with her ex-husband. 

if you haven’t seen it, you should.  (hey, i’ll lend you my 2nd copy!)

if you have seen it, by now you should recall that meryl’s character has the dreeeeeeeeeeeeeamiest kitchen & home i’ve ever seen.  like, the kind of perfection that you pin on your “dream home” pinterest board.  a beautiful french farmhouse style kitchen with amazing natural light, an open-concept into the dining area, & the most understated & sophisticated marble slab island i’ve ever seen – covered a bounty of bread in baskets, fruit in bowls, herbs in planters, & baked treats on cake stands, of course.

omg. i die. croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |

this kitchen is just everything that food should be about: an open & inviting gathering space for family & loved ones.  (ahem…with an abundance of pastries…)

so it should come as no surprise that i absolutely died when meryl had steve martin’s character over for a casual dinner & whipped up croque monsieur while he was seated at that dreamy marble slab island.  

ugh.  how elegant & understated & sophisticated & amazing?!?!  i.just.can’t.even.

& ever since then i’ve had a slight obsession with croque monsieur.  i’ve made the classic, i’ve made it into a casserole, i’ve made it into crepes, & i even have it whenever i see it on a brunch menu

& today i share with you one of my more brilliant creations as of late: croque monsieur paninis. croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |

croque monsieur paninis have everything there is to love about croque monsieur PLUS everything there is to love about paninis:  creamy béchamel, salty ham, melty & gooey swiss cheese & good, chewy french sourdough grilled & pressed to golden perfection.  i add some arugula for a nice peppery kick.

aside from whipping up homemade béchamel (which literally takes 3 minutes & 4 staple pantry ingredients), these croque monsieur paninis are no more difficult to make than making any other sandwich: you generously butter the bread & season with a little pinch of salt (my secret for a flavorful, crunchy bite), flip the bread over & layer on your béchamel, cheese, ham & greens. 

pop into a panini press & five minutes later you’ll have a seriously bistro-worthy sandwich (& if you’re anything like me, you’ll be pretending you’re in meryl’s it’s complicated kitchen).croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |

croque monsieur paninis would be great for:
  1. easter leftovers.  the thick slices of leftover easter ham would literally be perfect in these paninis, which do tend to get pretty flattened in the panini press.
  2. weekend brunch gatherings.  last weekend my mom came to town to see beauty & the beast with me (uhh…have you seen it? AMAZING.) & i made these for lunch before the movie.  they were totally comforting & totally satisfying, but still felt light & didn’t put us into food comas.
  3. wooing a man.  i mean, just take a page out of meryl’s casual & elegant it’s  complicated date night book, right?
  4. girls night.  i can’t think of a better spring date with your girlfriends.  set out some patio furniture, assemble the paninis, have them bring a simple salad & some rosé, & laugh the night away.  does it get any better than that?croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |
check out the recipe below & tell me…what’s your favorite rom com?  have you seen it’s complicated? (& are you obsessed with meryl’s kitchen?)  have your own guilty pleasure?…let’s hear about it! xx

afraid you’ll miss a recipe or entertaining idea?  be sure to follow along with plays well with butter on bloglovin. for daily foodie musings & tips, follow along with @playswellwithbutter on instagram & facebook!  & for tons of pin-worthy ideas to be the hostess with the mostest, follow plays well with butter on pinterest!

croque monsieur paninis
Serves 4
these croque monsieur paninis have everything there is to love about croque monsieur PLUS everything there is to love about paninis. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter leftovers or entertain a couple of girlfriends for a weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!).
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
960 calories
86 g
165 g
46 g
51 g
25 g
388 g
2900 g
7 g
1 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
388g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 960
Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 46g
70%
Saturated Fat 25g
127%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 165mg
55%
Sodium 2900mg
121%
Total Carbohydrates 86g
29%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 7g
Protein 51g
Vitamin A
24%
Vitamin C
9%
Calcium
60%
Iron
34%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 batch of bechamel sauce (ingredients & recipe below)
  2. 4 tbsp butter at room temperature
  3. 8 slices of french sourdough (or sandwich bread of choice)
  4. 1 lb ham, thinly sliced
  5. 2 C swiss cheese (I use a swiss & gruyere blend from Trader Joes)
  6. 1 C arugula (or greens of choice)
  7. salt
For the bechamel
  1. 2 tbsp butter
  2. 2 tbsp flour
  3. 1 C milk (plus more as needed for desired consistency)
  4. 1 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Prepare your bechamel
  1. Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add flour & stir to combine. Continuously stir for about 1 minute until the mixture browns slightly, cooking off the flavor of the flour. Turn heat to low.
  2. While stirring, add milk to the pan & stir vigorously. The sauce will thicken pretty quickly, so continue to stir to avoid clumping.
  3. Once the sauce reaches your desired thickness (it should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon & stay separated as you run a finger over it), finish with salt & nutmeg, stir to combine, & turn off the heat.
  4. If the sauce gets too thick, don't worry. just add another couple splashes of milk & turn off the heat while you stir it in & it should thin out again.
For the croque monsieur paninis
  1. Preheat your panini press. (If you do not have a panini press, you could always pan fry these over medium heat - grilled cheese style.)
  2. Assemble the paninis: Butter one side of each slice of bread with 1/2 tbsp butter & sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Flip the bread slices over, & to their unbuttered side you're going to spread bechamel on half of the slices of bread & add cheese to the other half. Layer ham on top of the bechamel & add some greens on top of the cheese. Carefully flip each ham & bechamel covered slice of bread on top of each cheese & greens slice of bread, forming 4 sandwiches.
  3. Cook in panini press until crusty, golden, & heated through - about 5 minutes.
  4. Slice in half & pair with a chilled glass of dry rose!
beta
calories
960
fat
46g
protein
51g
carbs
86g
more
plays well with butter http://playswellwithbutter.com/
croque monsieur paninis are an easy & delicious lunch or brunch meal. a seriously simple, yet seriously elegant way to use up easter ham leftovers or to entertain a couple of girlfriends for a casual weekend lunch (just don't forget the rosé!) | croque monsieur, sandwich, french recipe, girls night, easy recipe, easter, easy entertaining |

13 Comments

  1. I think I have only had one of these in my life. When I was in France, so I mean… WAY TO GET ALL local color – right?! 😉

  2. Ok now I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never seen It’s Complicated! Seriously though, I’m gonna need to borrow that second copy… #notevenkidding
    Ellie | Hungry by Nature recently posted…Sun Dried Tomato Crusted Chicken & Green Bean Sheet Pan DinnerMy Profile

  3. These look delicious! I am with you on wanting a French inspired kitchen perfect for making pastries!

  4. Omg, It’s Complicated is not only one of my favorites, but I’m completely on board with that being one of the dreamiest kitchens EVER!!!! I also die. Loving this sandwich too…I’m a sucker for anything panini or grilled, or between bread in general. Loving this!

  5. I’m with Ellie and I don’t think I have seen It’s Complicated. But now I need to, esp to get a glimpse of that kitchen. I haven’t had a panini in so long but now I have a feeling I’m going to be busting out my panini grill!

  6. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Of course, what a fantastic website and enlightening posts, I surely will bookmark your blog.All the Best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge