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Alaska From Scratch: A sweet comeback for leftover cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving is over, the dishes have been washed, the guests have all gone home and there is a refrigerator full of leftovers to show for it.

Likely a bag of turkey (I love the dark meat), a pan of stuffing, a heap of sweet potatoes studded with pecans, some leftover gravy and, maybe, if we're lucky, some mashed potatoes to go with it. And don't forget that lonely little dish of cranberry sauce.

Where the cranberry sauce is concerned, other than making the classic day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with all the fixin's, one of my favorite ways to use the leftover cranberry goodness is to make this orange-scented French toast stuffed with cranberry cream cheese.

It's a beautiful breakfast or brunch option to serve for family and friends as we make the transition into the holiday season. Cranberry and orange make a bright and cheery combination for a substantial and impressive winter breakfast. Serve it up with a pot of freshly brewed coffee and some crispy bacon or sausage patties.

Orange French toast stuffed with cranberry cream cheese

For the French toast:

8 slices French bread

4 eggs

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Zest of one orange

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Butter for the pan

For the filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

4 tablespoons cranberry sauce (fresh or canned)

1. Heat a griddle pan over medium heat. Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, orange zest and juice together in a shallow dish.

2. Grease pan with butter. Take a slice of French bread and coat on both sides with egg batter and place directly into hot pan. Repeat with other slices.

3. Cook French toast until golden brown on both sides and cooked completely through, about 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Carefully fold in cranberry sauce.

5. To assemble, take one slice of hot French toast and spread a layer of filling inside. Top with another slice. Cut stuffed French toast carefully on the diagonal (filling will ooze out) and set on serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup and butter.