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Brunch on a Budget: Grilled Bourbon French Toast

Cost Breakdown

If you’re looking for an affordable brunch dish to feed your friends and family this spring, try Michael Symon’s Grilled French Toast. In this recipe he creates aluminum “ovens” to cook his fruit topping alongside French toast on the grill for a delicious smoky flavor. We tried it out for ourselves with a few tweaks (see below), and broke down the cost above. We served six, so the total came to about $4 per person (counting the addition of maple syrup and powdered sugar, which we strongly suggest!).


– Use bananas instead of more expensive berries for your topping.

– Bourbon! (Add it to both the bananas and the custard before grilling.)

– Use whole-wheat bread and milk — instead of cream — for a healthier dish.

– Pay attention to your grill, because that toast will burn fast! An ideal char:

Mmmm Char

– But if you do burn your toast, simply cover it with lots of topping and powdered sugar, and your guests will never know:

Final Product

Also, we have to give a special thanks to our friends Bill and Justyna for hosting and letting us experiment on their grill!

Gail Simmons’ Top Tips for Cooking Smarter

Gail Simmons Cooking Tips

I love to eat out (Who doesn’t? Especially in New York City.), and that often means figuring out ways to make restaurant dining part of a smarter overall food budget. To that end, there was an entire session dedicated to smarter cooking at a financial planning event I attended hosted by the website Learnvest. Gail Simmons, of Top Chef and Food & Wine fame, was one of the speakers and, like me, she enjoys a great meal out. But she understands that that means balancing with healthy, affordable cooking at home.

Gail Simmons Cooking Tips

Here are a few of Gail Simmons’ top tips for cooking smarter at home:

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Tax Day Recipes, for Richer or for Poorer

The tax man cometh, and he cometh today (or really, April 18th for those of you who really like to procrastinate. Thanks to some fancy governmental footwork, Tax Day 2011 was extended a bit.) But whether you owe Uncle Sam, or he owes you, you still gotta’ eat. If you’re expecting a big check, hopefully you’re planning a fancy feast, but if you’re the one writing the big check, don’t worry, you won’t be stuck eating Fancy Feast; we’ve got plenty of delectable options for those looking to save and for those who want to splurge.

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