March in Ontario has us all looking forward to spring. And along with that comes a welcome school break – a whole week of free time!
Let’s help Mom and Dad survive March madness by getting creative. We’ll make them lunch!
Start with a loaf of fresh whole-grain bread. Add eggs, low-fat milk and some nice seasonings. Then fill with fruit or low-sugar jams, and cheese or nut butter. Use any combination of fruit and protein fillings your heart desires. Sweeten your sandwich with a touch of mineral-rich maple syrup, a time-tested spring tonic offered up by our Canadian forests. And you have a lunch anybody would definitely come home for.
Kids, put on your chef hats and get to work on this easy recipe. And remember to clean up afterwards, perhaps while singing about peanut butter. All recipes should be this simple!
French toast sandwiches with apples and gouda
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons skim milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 apple, sliced (MacIntosh or other good baking apple is best. My Granny Smith was good, but remained a little crunchy after baking.)
- 3 ounces cheese (brie, gorgonzola, mild cheddar, gouda, goat cheese or whatever kind you like)
- 1 tablespoon oil (coconut or canola), flavored with a dab of butter
As you can see, I made just one sandwich, so I cut amounts in half.
If your frying pan won’t hold two sandwiches lying flat in a single layer
(like mine doesn’t), fry the bottoms of your sandwiches one at a time.
Transfer them to a second, larger pan for the oven portion of the cooking and continue from there.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Whisk the eggs with the milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a shallow bowl.
- Soak 4 slices of bread in the egg mixture, turning once, until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Slice the cheese thinly and core and slice the apples. See TIP (below) for slicing apples easily.
- In an oven-safe skillet big enough to hold two sandwiches, melt a dab of butter with the oil over medium heat.
- Cook two slices of bread in the oil until golden on the bottom.
- Layer the frying bread slices with the cheese, then cover the cheese evenly with the apples.
- Cover the two filled slices with a second slice of eggy bread.
- Flip the sandwiches and move the pan into the oven, preheated to 350F.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bottoms are golden.
- Remove and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, if you want.
Try smearing one of the slices in your sandwich with nut butter and soak the other side in the egg mixture. Top the nut butter with banana slices or even pear or papaya slices if you want to be more original. Then finish your sandwich as described above.
Experiment with different kinds of bread – try sourdough, croissants (you can get whole wheat ones, these days), or even a fresh rye.
Sweeten the egg mixture with liquid stevia and omit the syrup topping. This option would appeal to folks who want to eliminate added sugar in their meal plans. It’s what I did. The sandwich tasted amazing. Avoiding added sugar lowers the glycemic index of your lunch. It’s especially important for people who want to avoid chronic diseases, like diabetes or fatty liver. Or enjoy your sandwich with only its natural sweetness.
- Cut your apple in half with stem end up and slice downwards to the bottom.
- With flat side down, cut each of the halves in half again, along the core.
- Take each quarter and angle your knife from the bottom of the core to dead centre (see picture).
- Then twist and press upwards on the knife. The core pops out easily, without breaking the piece in half. Don’t try this from the stem end, or the segment will break.
- Finally, cut each quarter into thin slices, about 2 mm wide.
- Any slices left over after filling your sandwich make nice plate decorations.
- Check out an earlier post for info on apple nutrition.
Any way you slice it, have an amazing March break. Let Vinny know here all the amazing things you are doing (and eating) over your week away from school.