Recipe Idea: Stuffed French Toast

There are recipes that look tough to pull off but are actually really easy, and this stuffed French Toast makes a few common ingredients taste phenomenal and look impressive. It is the perfect backyard griddle meal to impress brunch guests or make a special family meal. By taking something that is already good (French Toast) and adding something else good to it (strawberries and cream cheese), you wind up with an exceptional result. We like this with turkey sausage, but stuffed French Toast is just as good with bacon, regular sausage or fresh fruit. Serve with syrup and watch everyone go nuts over how good this is.

To make Stuffed French Toast, you will need:

- One 2 lb loaf of good-quality, day-old white bread, unsliced

- Two eggs, slightly beaten

- 1 Cup milk

- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- 1/4 Cup fresh strawberries, sliced into thirds

- 1/4 Cup strawberry jam

- 1/4 Cup cream cheese, softened

- High-heat griddle oil for cooking (vegetable, rice bran or grapeseed)

Preheat your grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (medium heat), and place your griddle on the grill. Prepare the French Toast by slicing the bread into about six two-inch long pieces (depending on the size of the bread). Starting at the top, cut a pocket into the center of the bread, being careful not to cut the sides or bottom. It may be useful to remove extra bread from the pocket, to create room for the filling. Set bread aside. Combine eggs, milk, spices and vanilla, and set aside. Combine cream cheese, strawberries, and jam, and place about two tablespoons in each bread pocket. Press the edge of the pocket to seal as much filling in as possible. Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture, and allow to soak on both sides for a few seconds to absorb the liquid.

To make Griddle Sausage Patties, you will need:

- 1 lb fresh turkey sausage mix, from your butcher Form the sausage mixture into eight equal patties

To cook the dish: Lightly coast the preheated griddle with oil, and place the French Toast and the turkey sausage patties on the griddle. Cook at medium heat until the toasts are golden brown and the eggs have fully cooked. As the French Toast cooks the filling will melt together.

Cook the turkey sausage until it is browned on both sides and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Both items will take approximately five to seven minutes per side, depending on grill temperature. Serve with syrup and fresh fruit, if desired. Serves four.

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