Monday, June 18, 2012

Makeover Monday: Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

I guess I'm on a breakfast makeover kick.  I would appologize, but I'm not sorry.  Keep in mind that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  After several weeks in a row of weekend travel, my husband and I finally had a weekend were we didn't go anywhere!  I intended to take full advantage of it by making an awesome weekend breakfast.  And as usual, I didn't want my yummy breakfast to start my day in a huge calorie hole. 

I bought a loaf of French bread a while ago and only used about half of it.  I wouldn't dare waste good bread so I have been saving it in my refrigerator for the right time to use it.  Even though I have never posted any French toast recipes before, I do make it on occassion.  It's just that I always use my whole wheat sandwich bread and I don't really follow any kind of recipe.  I just kind of throw it together.  I love how easy my typical French toast is to make, but I never really thought it was worth sharing. 

When I told my husband not to eat the French bread in the fridge because I was going to use it for French toast, he thought it sounded like a terrible idea.  I had to explain to him that French bread is actually perfect for making French toast.  He didn't believe me.  At that point my mission was clear.  I had to transform my lowly old loaf of French bread into a gourmet breakfast that would convince my husband that I actually know what I'm talking about.  And not to toot my own horn, but I succeeded!

I have come across plenty of recipes for stuffed French toast before, and while they have always intrigued me, I have never tried any.  I figured there was no better way to make French toast than to stuff it with cream cheese.  And then I found a recipe that stuffed French toast with cream cheese and strawberries.  Yes please!  This particular recipe called for making a slit in the slices of bread and literally stuffing it with the strawberry/cream cheese mixture.  But my loaf was pre-sliced.  So my version of "stuffed" French toast is really more of a French toast sandwich.  Just go with it.

After making my filling, it occured to me that I was probably going to destroy these sandwiches and make a huge mess.  I envisioned not being able to flip the toast when it was in the egg mixture.  I envisioned stuffing falling out and getting everywhere.  I foresaw failure.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  I used tongs and a fork to flip them when soaking each side, which worked nicely.  The filling stayed in place during that flip, and the flip while cooking.  Really, these only took a few more minutes to make than my standard French toast.  And they were off the charts better!

These turned out beautiful, and they tasted even better than they looked.  The bread was nice and crusty on the outside.  Then you cut into it and take a bite of the soft, sweet, creamy filling.  Then you groan with satisfaction.  Even thought this stuffed French toast was easier than I thought it would be, this was the kind of meal that made me feel like Food Network would be calling me at any moment to offer me my own cooking show.  Yeah, it's that good.
My second "piece" of stufedf French toast (yes, I couldn't help but have two!) I had without any syrup.  And it was still really good.  These are amazing just on their own.  I made simple substitutions to cut out the excess sugar and fat in this recipe. So although these taste like a million bucks, they don't have a million calories.  I did go away from my usual whole grain bread just this once.  I guess a little refined flour for breakfast every now and then won't kill me!  So next time life gives you French bread, make French toast!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
2 Tbsp margarine
4 oz fat free cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp almond flavoring
2 Tbsp sugar free strawberry jelly
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
10 slices French bread, about 3/4 inches thick
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp Splenda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup skim milk
In a medium bowl, beat together margarine, cream cheese, and almond flavoring until well combined.  Stir in the strawberry jelly.  Fold  in strawberries.  Reserve in refrigerator until ready to use.
In a medium shallow bowl or a pie plate, whisk together eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, Splenda, vanilla, and milk.  Set aside.
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture on a slice of French bread.  Top with another slice of bread.  Repeat with remaining bread slices. 
Dip the bread in egg batter, allowing to soak about 20 seconds, then flip and let the other side soak.  Place in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from skillet and serve immediately with sliced fresh strawberries and sugar free strawberry syrup, if desired.
Serves 5.

Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

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