Monday, May 11

Stuffed French Toast

Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes
1 large French baguette (16 to 20 ounces), preferably day old
1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 eggs
1 cup reduced fat milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
For serving
Pure maple syrup or favorite syrup
Confectioner's sugar
Sliced fresh strawberries or blueberries
The night before, slice the baguette into 1½- to 2-inch thick slices; you should get at least 10 to 12. Make a small slit on the bottom side of the slice to make a deep pocket for stuffing. Or you can do this when ready to cook, but it's generally best to leave out the bread.
Just before cooking, in a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, nuts, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Evenly divide the cream cheese mixture, using a spoon to stuff it in the bread pocket.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
When ready to cook, warm the oil and butter on a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat.
Dip the stuffed baguette slices for a few seconds in the egg mixture so it coats evenly. Don't let them soak too long or they will become mushy. Transfer to the griddle and cook on each side until browned.
Remove from the griddle and place on a serving plate. Garnish with a dusting of confectioners' sugar and sliced strawberries. Serve with your favorite syrup.

White Bean Chile with Tomato Garnish


1 lb small white navy beans (rinsed and soaked overnight) or about four cans
1-2 onion chopped
1 48 oz can of chicken broth
4 cups chicken - cooked and diced
1 large 7 oz can diced green chiles
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
4 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4-5 (or more) garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sour cream
3 Cups monterey jack cheese, shredded

tomatoes, chopped
cilantro chopped
sweet and sour dressing

1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup cider vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp dried onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/3 Cup vegetable oil

In a large pot, combine beans, onions and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer about 2 hours or until beans are tender.
Add chopped chicken with chiles and seasonings and continue simmering until the sauce is thickened about 30-40 minutes. 
Take off heat and add the sour cream and cheese.  Stir until cheese melts.
Serve with tomato garnish.

Sweet and sour dressing
In a small saucepan combine sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  In a jar combine juice and seasoning.  Add vinegar mixture and then oil.  Shake to combine.  Will keep up to a week in refrigerator.  (add only enough dressing to coat the tomatoes, add cilantro)