MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - May 16, 2013) - (Family Features) Meals just taste better when you make them with fresh ingredients. So when you're hosting a brunch, look for recipes that make the most of fresh, seasonal flavors, and ingredients that come from close to home.

  • In-season fruits and vegetables tend to be better quality, have better flavor, and be less expensive. Whether you grow them yourself or get them at a farmers market or grocery store, take advantage of vitamin-rich produce at its peak. Use them in recipes or serve as part of a fruit and cheese plate.
  • Turn fresh produce into a beautiful centerpiece. Fill a bowl with colorful whole fruits and fresh flowers; or add citrus slices and small fruits to a bowl of water with floating candles.
  • Plan a variety of easy-to-make brunch dishes to satisfy guests. Quiches with fresh vegetables, make-ahead savory casseroles, and fresh fruit medleys or leafy green salads all make great brunch choices.

This delightful brunch recipe for Strawberry Ricotta Stuffed Whole Grain French Toast pairs ripe, juicy strawberries with Roman Meal whole grain bread and a decadent creamy filling. A good source of vitamin D and fiber, and an excellent source of calcium, Roman Meal Original (Sandwich and Round Top) bread has 21 grams of whole grains per serving. And because it's baked in regional bakeries across the United States, it's never frozen or shipped long distances, giving you another way to add freshness to your table.

You can find more deliciously fresh brunch ideas at www.romanmeal.com.

Strawberry Ricotta Stuffed Whole Grain French Toast 
Prep Time: 10 minutes  
Cook Time: 8 minutes  
Servings: 4  
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
8 slices Roman Meal bread
2 cups fresh, sliced strawberries, divided
  Nonstick cooking spray
  Powdered sugar
  Maple syrup (optional)

Combine ricotta cheese, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in small bowl; mix well. Combine eggs, milk and remaining vanilla in shallow bowl; mix well.

Spread ricotta-sugar mixture evenly over 4 bread slices. Top each slice with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and remaining bread slices to form 4 sandwiches.

Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Carefully dip sandwiches in egg mixture, coating both sides. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with remaining strawberries. Serve with maple syrup, if desired.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 388; Total Fat 13g; Cholesterol 240mg; Sodium, 407mg; Total carbs 54.1g; Dietary fiber 3.7g; Protein 14.9g; Whole grains 21g 

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Michael French