Halfway To Dinner

How to Turn French Toast Leftovers into a Week's Worth of Breakfast (or Dinners)

For more on how to master meal planning, check out A New Way to Dinner, a playbook for stressless weeknight dinners. Get your copy here.

At the risk of sharing too much information, I just got my wisdom teeth out. I'm in pain. There's a strong resemblance to a chipmunk going on. And, worst of all, I can't eat! I picked oat-by-oat through a bowl of oatmeal for a half hour before throwing in my bowl and resorting to a glass of milk.

Now, here's what I need you to do: Eat all the crunchy foods for me—starting with Sesame-Coconut Crunchy French Toast, thick slices of challah coated in flaky cereal, unsweetened coconut, and sesame seeds before being fried in butter.

Your first day, make the recipe as is and top the French toast with lemon zest, fresh fruit, and a good drizzle of maple syrup. And while you're at it, make a double—or triple, if you're feeding a crowd—batch to eat for breakfast (or dinner, or dessert) throughout the week. You can refrigerate some of the pieces to repurpose for the first couple of days (they'll lose their crisp a bit, but you can fix this as described below!), and freeze the rest for later on.

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To freeze the French toast, let the slices cool on a wire rack, place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and put this into the freezer until the slices are frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag. (My motto is ABFFT: Always be freezing French toast.)

Here's how to eat the French toast throughout the week:

  • A parfait-trifle, of sorts. Cube a piece of French toast and, in a sundae-style glass, layer the pieces with yogurt or fruit-flavored whipped cream and fresh fruit. Top with more toasted coconut.

  • A sweet-savory Monte Cristo sandwich. Take two pieces of French toast. Thinly spread raspberry jam on one piece and pile on a heap of grated Gruyère cheese and thinly sliced ham. Spread some brown mustard on the other piece, sandwich, and fry in butter over low heat until the French toast is crispy once again and the cheese is melty (you can cover the skillet while the sandwich is cooking to expedite the melting).

  • Breakfast salad. Cube a piece of French toast. Put the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and into a oven at 350°F and toast until crispy and lightly browned. Meanwhile, toss together your favorite delicate-ish greens (like baby kale or spinach), toasted sesame seeds, and fruit. Add the French toast croutons and drizzle with tahini dressing.

  • French toast today, casserole tomorrow. Substitute the bread in this recipe with crispy, coconutty French toast. If you want to make individual casseroles, cube the French toast pieces and place in a muffin tins, pouring in enough of the egg-milk mixture to coat and cover the bread about 2/3 of the way. They'll take less time to bake.

  • Like cereal, but not. Heat a little bit of butter in a skillet, add the French toast slices, and cook over low heat until crispy again. Cut into cubes and place in a cereal bowl (a warm bowl, as instructed here. Warm some milk and add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. Immediately pour the milk over the French toast and eat like cereal.

  • When in doubt, sundae. This isn't breakfast, but oh well! Warm a French toast slice as instructed above. You can cube it, or not. Cubes will be easier to eat, but a slice will stay warmer longer. Add your ice cream, hot fudge, sea salt, and brûléed bananas.

How do you use leftover French toast? Tell us in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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