Monday, February 14, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of the occasion, I decided to make my Meatless Monday a breakfast-themed one, and do a super-decadent french toast sandwich for you. I got this one from Ellie Krieger, so it only seems super-decadent! In fact, it is actually a kinda nutritious breakfast! The thing that makes it indulgent is the inclusion of chocolate, but of course a bit of chocolate in the morning never hurt anybody as long as there was some fresh fruit and whole grains accompanying it!

This is a stuffed french toast recipe. Only three ingredients are required for the inside of the sandwich: ricotta cheese, fresh strawberries, and chocolate chips. You assemble your sandwiches, dip them in an egg/milk mixture seasoned with vanilla and ground cinnamon, and fry them up on your griddle as you would with traditional french toast. I did make some swaps for this; I used a combination of 2% milk and water as opposed to skim milk, and I substituted one egg white for a whole egg. I also added in the cinnamon; we're big fans!

These french toast sandwiches were surefire hits over the weekend! It truly felt like we were eating dessert for breakfast, which was just fine with me on a special occasion. I paired the sandwiches with some breakfast sausage (turkey for the boys, meatless links for me!) and it really made a nice meal that kept us good and full all morning long. I couldn't believe this recipe came from a healthy cookbook, but that's Ellie for you. She's always surprising me with how good healthy food can taste! Anyway, I think this would make a fantastic Valentine's Day treat, whether for breakfast, lunch, or a really yummy, sweet dinner. I hope you have a great day!

Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
adapted from Ellie Krieger
makes 4 sandwiches

3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
8 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread (Ellie removed her crusts; I did not)
4 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray
2 tsp. confectioners' sugar

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, water, eggs, egg white, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Spread 1 Tbsp. of the ricotta cheese on 4 of the bread slices. Top each with about 6 slices of strawberry and 1/2 Tbsp. of the chocolate chips. Cover each with another piece of bread to form sandwiches.

3. Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. Carefully dip each of the sandwiches into the egg mixture (I learned the hard way that you should not dip the whole slice of bread into the egg; that makes the sandwich soggy on the inside. Rather, you want to dip the lower half of a bread slice, carefully flip the sandwich, and then dip the lower half of the other bread slice). Place each sandwich on the skillet or griddle and cook until the outside is golden brown. The center should be warm and the chocolate should be melted. Ellie says 3-4 minutes per side should do it, but mine were on the griddle more like 6-7 minutes per side.

4. Transfer sandwiches to serving dishes. Top with extra strawberries, if desired, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

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