• deborahreinhardt

Start the weekend off with a delicious twist to a family breakfast favorite.

Come on, you know this looks good! Bacon and cheese hidden inside French toast—pass the syrup!

Eggy bread. German toast. Pain perdu. Poor knights. French toast. No matter what you call it, bread soaked in milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon is one of those dishes that transports me back to Saturday mornings during my childhood. I'll bet it does the same for you.

The much anticipated weekend was the time when adults could get extra chores done around the house, see friends or host house parties, and I could spend the day playing with my pals. Today, weekends still feel like mini vacations to me. I usually set aside time to treat myself, whether that’s with special food, a few moments of pampering, or a chance to see a friend (albeit now it’s a physically distanced visit).

When I was growing up, weekday breakfasts were not flashy in our household. Every day, Dad would have two pieces of toast, coffee, and a small glass of orange juice. I probably had cereal (hot or cold), maybe a scrambled egg with toast when there was a little more time.

Not much has changed for American families. It’s expected that breakfast cereal sales this year will top $21 million. There are many more products on today’s market that helps bring a hot breakfast to our table; I’m thinking of frozen waffles to heat up in the toaster or microwavable breakfast sandwiches. Still, when somebody takes the time to cook a hearty breakfast for you, that’s special, no matter what era you’re from.

This Stuffed French Toast recipe also reminds me of a place I visited in Kansas City, Missouri, about five years ago. I was researching my book about Missouri’s chocolate makers and a beautiful B&B, Southmoreland on the Plaza, offered me hospitality for one night. The owners and innkeepers at the time, Nancy Miller and Mark Reichle, were a lovely couple who left the corporate world in Ohio to purchase and operate this luxury B&B. Although both knew their way around the inn’s substantial kitchen, Mark was the chef.

So many guests over the years encouraged him to compile his recipes into a cookbook, which he eventually did. He was gracious to gift a book to me at the time of my visit, and I later sent a copy of Delectable Destinations to him. Whenever I cook from Mark’s book, I fondly remember my stay with him and Nancy, which included a totally decadent, full breakfast in their courtyard where I feasted on molasses-brined pork chops, among other dishes.

Sadly, the couple has since sold Southmoreland, but I will always remember how they catered to each guest, making everyone—myself included—feel cared for and important.

I’ve only made a small tweak to Mark’s Stuffed French Toast recipe, swapping turkey bacon for honey ham. I think the balance of sweet with savory—whether you use bacon or ham—is just right.

Of course, you could stuff the French toast with hazelnut spread or your favorite jam. Right now, I’m thinking I’ll change it up next time with a fig jam and brie or blue cheese. Play around with it and have fun. After all, it’s National Hot Breakfast Month.

Naturally, the best ingredients make a better dish. Sure you can use plain white bread, but it’s great with a sourdough or for a richer toast, try it with brioche.

And in case you’re wondering if the French invented French toast, the answer is no. The earliest recipe, in Latin, dates to about the 5th century Romans. The French makes use of stale bread in their pain perdu (lost bread). The German “poor knights” version of the dish dates to the 14th century. The term “French toast” first appeared in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871.

Because we’re spending so much time indoors with immediate family members, take this opportunity to celebrate National Hot Breakfast Month; here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Make the Stuffed French Toast recipe. (duh)

  2. Have breakfast for dinner and watch a movie, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Here are a few other movie ideas.

  3. Purchase a few bags of breakfast cereals, including oatmeal, to donate to an area food pantry. This pandemic has created a lot of hungry families.

For more hot breakfast ideas this month, follow the kitchen on Facebook and Instagram @threewomeninthekitchen.com. You won't want to miss the Breakfast Bombs recipe; it's, well, the bomb!

Stuffed French Toast

This is a slightly modified recipe from the Southmoreland on the Plaza cookbook, Tried and True (2007/Morris Press Cookbooks). You could easily swap out the bacon for 6 slices of honey ham, which is what the original recipe included. The inn also usually dusted the dish with powdered sugar as a final garnish.


4 eggs

2 cups half & half

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

12 slices bread

12 slices Swiss cheese

12 slices turkey bacon

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Maple syrup


Beat eggs, half & half, vanilla, and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Build sandwiches by placing bacon between two slices of cheese. Arrange meat and cheese between the two slices of bread.

Dip sandwiches into the egg batter and cook on a buttered griddle or in a large skillet. Brown on both sides.

Cut each sandwich diagonally and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle almonds over each sandwich and drizzle with syrup.

YIELD: 4-6 servings

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  • deborahreinhardt

Experts agree a nutritious diet will help strengthen your body’s ability to fight infections.

Photo by Ela Haney from Pexels

Admittedly, there have been times in these last 12 months I’ve wanted to curl up in a corner with a jar of Nutella and a spoon. We are all weary of COVID-19, but as Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said in an interview, the U.S. is “facing a whole lot of trouble” as COVID cases continue rising.

But instead of retreating to a dark place with supply of chocolate, good nutrition is important—now more than ever. If you'd like, go ahead and jump to the end of this post and grab the recipe card for Creamy Sweet Potato and Shrimp Curry.

The University of California, Davis recommends these foods to boost your immune system:

  1. Vitamin A (beta carotene) helps your intestines and respiratory system. Wondering how carrots could help my lungs be strong, followed that rabbit hole otherwise known as Google. According to the National Institute of Health, Vitamin A is involved in making and maintaining epithelial cells. These cells are found on our skin, as well as the inside of our throats, intestines, blood vessels, and organs. Epithelial cells, according to Arizona State University, are often the first thing a virus will attack. So, eat your carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli and red bell peppers.

  2. Vitamin C helps with the formation of antibodies that give our bodies the power to fight infections. My dad always loaded up on Vitamin C during the winter; he rarely had a head cold, let alone flu. Citrus, strawberries, bell peppers, and kiwis are good sources for this vitamin.

  3. Vitamin E—found in avocado, vegetable oil, nuts, and seeds—work as an antioxidant, which help to protect cells.

  4. Zinc deficiencies have been linked with immune dysfunction, according to UC Davis. That’s why it’s important to include zinc-rich foods like beans, seeds, nuts, and seafood in our eating plans.

  5. Proteins have amino acids, which are essential for T-cell function (the cells that protect against viruses. Lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds all have protein.

So, what does this mean to the person responsible for making family meals?

Jennifer McDaniel, a registered dietician based in St. Louis, is the founder/owner of McDaniel Nutrition Therapy. She’s also co-author of the Mediterranean Table Cookbook.

This isn’t a sponsored post; I merely came across her company’s website while researching my story, and she seems to have good, practical advice. Since I’m certainly not an expert, you might contact her team if you want to dive further into nutrition. You also might find her article interesting (as I did). The point about Vitamin D was fascinating.

I’ve thought more this past year than ever before about what I eat. Admittedly, what I put in my mouth bounces between curling up with the jar of Nutella to incorporating more vegetable-forward dishes into my week.

One simple change I’ve made is moving away from my former typical lunch—a sandwich with deli meat and cheese—to dishes like a frittata or homemade vegetable soup. Of course, being home all the time gives me the leisure to prepare lunches like this, but even folks who work outside the home can do something similar. It just takes a bit of planning and cooking a meal in advance of when you want to eat it.

Still, if food doesn’t satisfy all my taste points and feeds me emotionally, I won’t eat it. A bowl of micro greens would certainly be healthy, but I can’t get excited about them. I can, however, get excited about this Creamy Sweet Potato and Shrimp Curry that I recently made and served over rice.

Sweet potato and shrimp curry with spinach is a healthy and comforting bowl to enjoy this winter.

Inspired by a recipe I saw on the Pinch of Yum site, this warming bowl of goodness not only hit the flavor points for me, but it felt like I was eating something good for me.

Sweet potatoes and spinach delivered Vitamin A to my system, and the shrimp provided protein and Zinc. The sweetness of the coconut milk and the warmth of that beautifully complex curry paste rounds out this totally satisfying dish that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.

If you’re like me and grew up in the Midwest, curry might seem a bit too adventurous. “Oh, that’s too spicy for me” or “I don’t think I’d like that” are comments often heard in Missouri when it comes to different cuisines and their ingredients. Hey, we can’t physically travel right now, so bust out of your little corner of the world through food!

That’s what I do. A trip to the Pan-Asia Supermarket not far from my home is a total experiential outing for me. When I visited last month with my friend, Leslie, who is an expert at Japanese cooking, it felt like I had been somewhere! All types of different foods, smells—I wish I had allotted more time.

The market had an entire aisle of curry powders and pastes. I tried a jar of Rogan Josh paste. It has a smoky yet sweet taste with warming spices like cardamon and clove. Utterly delightful. I’ll likely explore different curry pastes (red, yellow, green) before trying to make my own, but I found a good primer on curry (the spice blend and the dish) from Raw Spice Bar.

I promise, this recipe is easy to make, and is no more spicy than the bowl of chili you might have made last weekend. Put some good vegetables into your tummy with this sweet potato curry.

Creamy Sweet Potato and Shrimp Curry


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ medium yellow onion, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons Rogan Josh paste

1 (14-ounce) can regular coconut milk

1 cup vegetable broth

3 cups baby spinach

2 cups medium precooked shrimp, cleaned, thawed

1 ½ teaspoons oyster sauce

Lime for garnish


In a stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and fragrant. Add sweet potatoes and stir to coat with oil. Add curry paste and oyster sauce. Stir until well combined.

Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth.

Cut shrimp in half and add to stock pot. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until thickened. Stir in spinach and let it wilt into the mixture.

Serve over white sticky rice with a lime quarter on the side.

MORMON SOUP is another warm bowl with plenty of veggie goodness


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  • deborahreinhardt

Updated: Feb 1

The best of Missouri beef and Florida seafood come together in tasty appetizers for your family’s game day gathering.

Take a bite of barbecued brisket sliders this year as you watch the Chiefs play the Bucs in Tampa.

Super Bowl this year sure will feel and look different. Fewer fans will physically gather to watch the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and around the U.S. If you’re planning to tune in with (hopefully only) your immediate family members, you still can plan a fun menu. And because Kansas City (barbecue) and Tampa Bay (seafood) are going head-to-head in the game, why not do a sort of surf ‘n’ turf appetizer combo?

Spicy Slow Cooker Brisket Sliders will pair nicely with Sweet Shrimp Cups. And the great thing about the brisket recipe is you’ll have plenty left for a meal the following week. I’d recommend making just enough of the shrimp cups to enjoy the day of the game. Beef won the coin toss, so let’s go!

I tweaked a brisket recipe from the Missouri Beef Industry Council for these sliders that are topped with a vinegar cole slaw. Honestly, you had me at brisket.

To answer the question, "Where's the beef," it was in Kansas City for more than 100 years. The Kansas City Stockyards opened in 1871 on the Kansas City of the Missouri River, and played a significant role in the West's ongoing expansion. In 1923, more than 2.6 million cattle were received. The stockyards closed in 1991 but the area is attracting businesses, restaurants, and city dwellers.

It’s no accident that Kansas City’s barbecue scene also began in the 1920s. According to the Kansas City Barbecue Trail page, Henry Perry is credited with setting up the city’s first pit. Today, places like Gates and Arthur Bryant’s anchor the trail, but I’ve got to give a shout out to Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas, because of the two sisters (Deborah and Mary) that smoke the meats and make the family’s special sausage and barbecue sauce. Check them out if you’re in town, but back to our brisket.

Be sure to set up and start cooking the brisket the morning of the game (or the day before) so your sliders are ready by kickoff. Put the Kansas City spin on the sliders with the right sauce.

In Missouri, we like the tomato-base barbecue sauce that usually has the right balance of sweet and tangy. Great debates have been made over Kansas City versus St. Louis barbecue styles, but honestly, can’t we just gather around the table?

To make a sauce for the shredded brisket, combine a cup of ketchup with ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup of molasses, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes in a medium sauce pan over a medium-high heat and once it looks ready to begin a boil, turn it down to a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. If you need to thin it out, use some of the liquid from the slow cooker.

I know it’s considered a “Carolina thing,” but I love topping a barbecue sandwich with crunch coleslaw. My grandma’s recipe combines a cup of sugar with a few shakes of dry dry mustard, celery seed, a good pinch of salt, ¾ cup vegetable oil, and 1 cup white vinegar. That’s enough to dress a bag of cole slaw mix.

Sweet Shrimp Cups

I know a lot of people will have chicken wings, pizza, and dips for the game, but why not try something a little different—appropriate for a historic Super Bowl. These tasty bites come together in almost no time (it takes longer for them to cool than to bake and fill) and will make 24 cups. If it’s just the two of you this year, just use one of the pie crust sheets for an even dozen.

These seafood cups would also make a good lunch if you pair it with a salad or a cup of soup, so even if your family wants to stick with the traditional appetizers for game day, you can have these in your recipe box for another day (like virtual happy hour with your girls).

So there’s a surf ‘n‘ turf idea for Super Bowl. Who will you be cheering for? As a Missouri girl, I have to hope the Chiefs will pull out a victory, but honestly, I’ll likely be tuned into Puppy Bowl XVII; I’m more of a baseball fan. Go Cards, and to the team owners, just sign Yadi already!

Try these other appetizers for game day: British Sausage Rolls

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