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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PROSCIUTTO-GOAT CHEESE-AVOCADO GRILLED SANDWICH

Lunch time! But what to whip up? Though my guys would have been happy with basic grilled cheese sandwiches served with a squirt of ketchup (er, hmm), I decided to make it special. They were skeptical when I started loading the kitchen counter with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese, but when all was grilled and done… No crumbs.

8 slices sourdough bread

4 oz goat cheese, softened

3 oz prosciutto ham

1 avocado, sliced thin

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tbsp butter, softened

1) Assemble four sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients between each: sourdough bread slice, goat cheese, prosciutto, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sourdough bread slice

2) Over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter in large skillet (I used a grill pan); place sandwiches in skillet and grill 3-5 minutes on bottom; spread remaining butter on top slices; flip and grill 3-5 minutes; serve!

Makes: 4 sandwiches

ROASTED RED PEPPER, MUSHROOM, GOAT CHEESE AND CHICKEN PASTA

This recipe was not a big hit at our house, but I have to share because I think it was outstanding–and my opinion counts too, hmm? It’s always a gamble when I go pasta since Senior, Junior, and Junior Too aren’t the best noodle fans. And then, of course, if I push it much beyond a nice marinara sauce–say, toss in roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and goat cheese–then let the indiscreetly discreet looks fly. Woe is me– No, strike that. Happy is me because I savored every bite.

Roasted Red Pepper-Mushroom-Goat Cheese Chicken Pasta

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lb chicken tenderloins

sea salt

ground black pepper

8 oz dried angel hair pasta (or thin spaghetti)

1 tbsp butter

8 oz white mushrooms, sliced thin

8 oz roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped (I used jarred peppers)

1/4 cup chopped parsley, divided

3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1) To grill pan, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add chicken tenderloins, lightly season with salt and pepper, and grill both sides about 4 minutes each until just done; remove from skillet and let cool a few minutes

2) Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to package directions

3) While pasta is cooking, coarsely chop chicken; return skillet to stove top and, over medium heat, melt butter; add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes until lightly brown on both sides; stir in roasted red pepper, chicken, and half the parsley (reserving half); cook 2-3 minutes until warmed through

4) Meanwhile, lightly drain pasta (leaving a little liquid behind to keep the pasta moist) and divide between 4 pasta bowls; spoon mushroom-roasted red pepper-chicken over pasta, followed by goat cheese and sprinkles of reserved parsley; serve to your–ahem!–pasta lovers

Servings: 4

PINE NUT-APPLE-CRANBERRY SALAD WITH BACON-WRAPPED GOAT CHEESE

Have I mentioned I really like goat cheese? No? Well, if it isn’t obvious yet, it’s bound to become so the farther out I take this blog. In fact, as I was putting together this salad, I wondered if anyone has made a cheesecake using goat cheese in place of cream cheese. Now that. . . Okay, back on track. This salad tasted amazing–and was eye-pleasing too! 8 oz goat cheese, sliced into 8 pieces and formed into 1/2″ thick squares 8 slices bacon (I almost always use turkey bacon) 1 tbsp olive oil 6 cups romaine lettuce, torn 1/4 cup pine nuts 1/4 cup pistachios 1/4 cup Craisins 1 crisp red apple, diced 1 avocado, sliced thin 1) Cut each bacon strip in half; wrap goat cheese in bacon using two halves for each piece to make little “packets” 2) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat; place bacon-goat cheese packets seam-side down in pan; cook approximately 3 minutes each side; remove from stove and gently transfer to a plate and let “set” while you put the salad together 3) Divide lettuce between 4 plates; scatter pine nuts and pistachios over lettuce; place 2 pieces of bacon-wrapped goat cheese on salad (yes, the picture shows 3–Junior wasn’t home so his portion was divided between Senior and Junior Too); scatter Craisins, apple, and avocado over salad; serve with dressing of your choice (we used Ken’s Steakhouse Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette); Enjoy! Serves: 4