STUFFED FRENCH TOAST SANDWICH

No syrup for these tasty slices of french toast, although. . . Nah. Senior, Junior, Junior Too–not to mention the cook–liked this meal in all it’s non-syrup glory. Give it a try!

5 eggs

3/4 cup milk

sea salt

pepper

2 tbsp butter, divided

8 slices bread (I used country oatmeal, but sourdough…oh, that would be really good)

4 oz goat cheese (or cream cheese), softened (about 20 seconds in microwave)

1 large tomato, sliced thin

8 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon), fried to slightly crisp

8 slices thin deli ham

1 cup spinach, stems removed

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees

2) In shallow bowl, beat eggs, milk, and pinch of salt and pepper

3) In large skillet (big enough to accommodate 4 slices of bread at a time) melt 1 tbsp butter (reserve 1 tbsp for second batch) over medium heat

4) Lightly dip 4 slices of bread in egg mixture, coating both sides; transfer to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown; transfer from skillet to oven-safe plate and keep warm in oven while cooking 4 remaining pieces of french toast in reserved 1 tbsp butter

5) Assemble each sandwich as follows: 1 slice french toast spread with goat cheese, tomato, bacon, ham, spinach, 1 slice french toast; then feast!

Heartily serves: 4

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BACON-FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

Our family is a turkey bacon family. However, in recent months Junior Too has developed a taste for the real stuff. Since he and Senior have no weight issues whatsoever, I was tempted by a sinful cookbook titled Bacon Nation which has now taken up residence in my kitchen. My recipe was inspired by “French Toast Bread Pudding with Bacon and Cinnamon” and, after I tweaked ingredients and preparation, it turned out to be a major hit. Many greasy bacon thumbs up!

Bacon French Toast Casserole

6 slices thick-cut bacon (next time, I’ll give turkey bacon a try)

8 eggs, divided

1/2 cup granulated white sugar, divided

2-1/4 cup milk, divided

8 slices soft bread (I used potato bread)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup Craisins (or raisins)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch fine sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly oil 13″x9″ baking dish

2) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook 2-3 minutes each side until crisp; remove skillet from heat and place bacon on paper towel-lined plate; remove all but 2 tbsp bacon grease from skillet and set skillet aside (you’ll use it to cook the french toast); chop bacon and set aside

3) To large mixing bowl, add: 4 eggs (reserving 4), 1/4 cup sugar (reserving 1/4 cup), and 3/4 cup milk (reserving 1-1/2 cups); whisk until well blended

4) Return large skillet to stove top and heat over medium

5) Meanwhile, dip both sides of bread slices in egg batter and place in skillet (you’ll have to make in 2 batches of 4 slices each and, perhaps, add a bit more bacon grease); cook each side 3-4 minutes until golden; remove from skillet and cut each slice on the diagonal to form 16 triangles; overlap french toast in baking dish and scatter pecans and Craisins over the top; set aside

6) To large mixing bowl, add: 4 reserved eggs, 1/4 cup reserved sugar, vanilla, 1-1/2 cups reserved milk, half-and-half, maple syrup, nutmeg, and salt; whisk until well combined; pour over french toast triangles, sprinkle with cinnamon, and cover with aluminum foil; let sit 15 minutes

7) Place casserole in oven and cook 25 minutes; remove aluminum foil and cook additional 25 minutes; remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving; you can serve with maple syrup, but this dish is so moist and tasty you shouldn’t need it; enjoy!

Servings: 6

CHICKEN-BACON-WHITE CHEDDAR FRENCH TOAST

French Toast for dinner? Oh my goodness, absolutely, positively yes! This is a dish for which I would willingly derail a diet.  A moist, lightly golden piece of sourdough french toast topped with chicken, topped with white cheddar sauce, topped with tomato, topped with bacon. First-bite thumbs up all around!

Chicken Bacon White Cheddar French ToastChicken Bacon White Cheddar French Toast (2)

WHITE CHEDDAR SAUCE:

1 cup milk

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp + 1 tsp all-purpose flour

4 oz grated sharp white cheddar cheese

2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

FRENCH TOAST

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

4 slices good quality sourdough bread (I bought mine at Panera Bread)

1 large ripe tomato, sliced into 4 thick pieces

1-1/2 cups shredded deli chicken

2 oz sharp white cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 slices crisply fried bacon, cut in half

1 tbsp minced parsley

1) To medium-sized pot over medium heat, add milk and butter and, stirring often, cook 3 minutes; sprinkle flour over top and, whisking continuously, cook 2 minutes; whisk in white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses; lower heat to lowest setting to keep warm (stir occasionally)

2) Place oven rack in middle and preheat broiler

3) In shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk; set aside

4) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil; dip bread slices in egg-milk mixture front and back, coating well; place bread slices in skillet and cook 2-3 minutes each side until just done and lightly golden; transfer french toast slices to broiler-safe baking sheet, placing 1″-2″ inches apart

5) To same skillet over medium-high heat, add tomato slices and cook 30 seconds each side; remove from heat and set aside

6) Top french toast slices with chicken, followed by cheese sauce and grated white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses; place under broiler 2-3 minutes (keep an eye on them!); when cheese melts and sauce is bubbly, remove from oven, top each french toast slice with tomato and bacon, sprinkle with parsley, and serve

Servings: 4

PECAN PRALINE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

We’re a breakfast casserole family, and though these dishes taste best when chilled overnight prior to baking in order to allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture, I’m too often spur-of-the-moment. As evidenced by this tasty Pecan Praline Breakfast Casserole–and some very hungry guys–you can fudge on soak time. Thumbs up!

Pecan Praline Breakfast Casserole

1 cup packed brown sugar

5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

3 large ciabatta rolls (4″x4″), sliced in half, top and bottom crusts removed (or other nice white bread)

6 eggs

1-1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp granulated white sugar

1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly butter an 11×9″ casserole dish

2) In small bowl, mix brown sugar, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and pecans; spread across bottom of casserole dish; top with 6 ciabatta slices; set aside

3) In medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sugar, and cinnamon; pour over ciabatta slices and let sit 10 minutes; bake in oven 45-50 minutes until eggs set; using spatula, flip each slice over onto plate to expose pecan praline topping; serve with or without extra maple syrup (it’s pretty sweet on its own)

Servings: 6

CAST-IRON CARAMELIZED APPLE FRENCH TOAST

Breakfast for dinner is always a treat. I made this dish for a get together with friends a few nights ago and it went over exceptionally well. The fresh apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, maple syrup… Yum! And not hard at all to make.

Cast-Iron Caramelized Apple French Toast

4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

4 apples, cored and cut into 1/2″ thick pieces

1 cup brown sugar, divided

1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

1/4 cup water

20 slices French bread (1/2″ thick and quartered–about 10 oz)

8 eggs

1-3/4 cups half-and-half, divided

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup (plus additional for serving, if you like)

1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1) Melt 2 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp) in cast iron skillet over medium heat; add apples, 1/2 cup sugar (reserving 1/2 cup), and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (reserving 1/2 tsp); cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes; stir in water and cook additional 5 minutes until apples are caramelized; transfer apples and caramel sauce to bowl and set aside

2) Wipe skillet clean; add 2 tbsp reserved butter to skillet and melt; remove from heat and lay half the bread in bottom of skillet; top with half the apple mixture followed by remaining half of the bread; set aside; cover remaining apple mixture and refrigerate

3) To large bowl add: eggs, 1-1/2 cups half-and-half (reserving 1/4 cup), 1/2 cup reserved sugar, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp reserved cinnamon, lemon zest, and vanilla; beat until well combined; pour over bread/apples in skillet; using the back of a spatula, gently press bread down to saturate; cover skillet with aluminum foil and refrigerate 1-2 hours

4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

5) Remove skillet from refrigerator and let sit 10-15 minutes; keeping skillet covered with foil, bake apple french toast in oven 30 minutes; remove foil, bake additional 15 minutes

6) Meanwhile remove reserved apple mixture from refrigerator to let it warm up; spoon reserved apple mixture over french toast and bake additional 10 minutes until french toast is firm in center; remove from oven and drizzle with maple syrup and 1/4 cup reserved half-and-half; sprinkle pecans over top, cut in wedges, and serve with additional maple syrup

Servings: 6

Recipe adapted from: Cast Iron Skillet: Big Flavors