A brunch recipe fares even better under our supervision.

The reader: Kristi Wold, 33, practice manager, Bloomington, Illinois.

The story: As a practice manager for a thriving medical group, Kristi knows the value of efficiency, which is partly why she loves this recipe. You can throw it together the night before and pop it into the oven shortly before brunch―perfect for the hectic holiday season. With layers of smooth cream cheese stuffing and cinnamon-raisin bread, the bread puddinglike dish wins raves from coworkers whenever Kristi takes it to the office. Boyfriend Randy also receives accolades when he makes the recipe for the guys at the fire station where he works. The dish has only one drawback―its nutritional profile.

The dilemma: The original recipe contained one pound of cream cheese, a quart of half-and-half, and eight eggs. Sure, it was delicious, but consuming 27 grams of fat in one sitting is no way to start the day.

The solution: We knew this recipe could stand some serious downsizing. By combining fat-free and 1/3-less-fat cream cheeses to replace the regular cream cheese, we trimmed the fat by more than 100 grams without losing any richness. Reducing the half-and-half and making up the difference with 1% milk cut another 60 grams of fat, while using egg substitute instead of eggs brought the number down another 23 grams. The lightened version remained so rich and flavorful that it rated even higher than the original in our Test Kitchens.

The feedback: Kristi gives the lightened dish an excellent performance review. She likes it better than the original, not only because the new version has a smoother consistency but also because she can enjoy it more since it isn't so heavy and filling. As for Randy, Kristi reports that he couldn't tell the difference between the two. And the folks at work who'd adored the original dish liked the lightened version more. One doctor told Kristi, "Your dessert was really good." When she replied that it wasn't really a dessert, he said, "Well, it could be." That's what we call creative management.

Before | After
(Serving size: 1 piece)

Calories per serving
502 | 340

27.3g | 11.3g

Percent of total calories
49% | 30%