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Strawberry season upon us

Fruit, wheat bread combine to make low-calorie French toast breakfast

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Andrea Mills/amills@saukvalley.com)
At 321 calories, this french toast recipe combines strawberries, white bread, and light cream cheese for a filling meal. The combination is from WeightWatchers.
(Andrea Mills/amills@saukvalley.com)
Fruit and Cheese-Stuffed French Toast slices need to be combined into a sandwich and cut diagonally. Later, they will be soaked in an egg and milk batter.

Today’s recipe is for those who love breakfast and are tired of a piece of wheat toast in the morning. That first meal of the day does not need to be stingy, or the same old thing.

Fruit and Cheese-Stuffed French Toast has changed my healthy breakfast habits. A new world has opened up. That piece of toast no longer will sit on my plate while I dream of better days ahead. There are options.

The first step was to head to the grocery store with a list in hand. I often go to the store, but I usually rely on my somewhat accurate mind to recall what I need. I took the list because I wanted a meal that looked like the photo in “WeightWatchers in 20 Minutes.”

My fruit of choice was strawberries, which I inspected as well as I could through the plastic container. Local garden strawberries were not an option this time of year, but June is getting much closer. My hopes soar.

The ingredients are straightforward and presented no problems in locating. Returning home, I prepared for the big moment – I only knew I wanted French toast. My heart pounded in anticipation.

Here are the steps, which I found easy to follow. The process moved along quickly.

1) Spread the cream cheese evenly on two slices of bread, leaving a 1⁄8-inch border. Spread the strawberry spread on the remaining slices of bread, still leaving a 1⁄8-inch border. Put the slices of bread together to make two cream cheese-fruit sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal; set aside.

My preference here would be to not worry too much about the 1⁄8-inch border. While it helps to keep the sandwich insides from sliding out, I did not have any problem keeping everything together.

Also, do not forget to soften the cream cheese. The editors of the cookbook recommend softening the ingredient in the microwave on high for about 15 seconds. I confess I missed doing this.

2) Beat the eggs and egg whites in a large, shallow bowl or pie plate; whisk in the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add two sandwich halves to the egg mixture; let stand until evenly soaked, about 20 seconds on each side. Repeat with the remaining two sandwich halves.

In this step, I discovered a poor choice of pie tin and being called from the kitchen can make the process interesting. I had holes in the pie tin, but fortunately, waiting longer than 20 seconds to remove the bread caused it to absorb more of the mixture than it should have. I ran a little short on the last batch, but the liquid didn’t travel too far down the kitchen counter. Stick to the 20 seconds and avoid holes – enough batter should be available.

3) Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the sandwiches to the skillet and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with the berries.

The result? Yum. The serving is more than adequate, it is filling, and elevates a normal, low-calorie breakfast. I would not hesitate to use this for brunch with those who do not know what a calorie-conscious diet is.

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