Tuesday, December 20, 2011

French Toast Casserole

Christmas morning is always spent at our house, since we have the kids and Santa has been here the night before leaving piles of gifts for them. My parents come over very early, we open our stockings, let the girls open their Santa presents, and then take a short break for breakfast. We dive into the rest of the gifts once the girls have eaten. Once all the gifts are opened and the coffee pot is drained, my husband makes mimosas and we go back for breakfast #2 or start on the leftover from Christmas Eve. Since it is a special day, I am always looking for something fun to make for breakfast instead of the same old cold cereal. Before my dairy issue started, I would make quiche-like breakfast pies with ham and Swiss cheese or egg and cheddar cheese. They are called Impossibly Easy pies and the recipes are from Bisquick. They were so good, but I stopped making them once I could no longer eat cheese. I have yet to try them with my "fake" cheese.
I have found that with 3 kids and all the excitement on Christmas morning, cooking is not really an option. I need something easy, something that can be put together the night before and popped in the oven that morning. I happened to come across the perfect recipe in my Family Fun magazine and I wanted to share it with you all. It really is so easy and perfect for Christmas morning.

French Toast Casserole:
Serves: 8
Total baking time:50-60 minutes

This was adapted from Family Fun Magazine. I did change it a bit though. I omitted the nuts, used light brown sugar, extra cinnamon, added a sprinkle of nutmeg to the top, and used vanilla soy milk. The method calls for 2 layers of bread but instead I made this in a large lasagna pan and did a single layer of bread so it was not at all soggy.

challah bread (can be found in the bakery section)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste (I used a little more)
A pinch of nutmeg
8 large eggs
1 3/4 cups vanilla soy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Grease a large pan (such as a lasagna pan) with cooking spray of your choice.
Cut the Challah bread into 1 inch cubes. You don't have to measure, they just need to be around that size.

2.In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.

3.Arrange the bread in the baking dish. Try to have a single layer- it will cook better and will not be soggy. Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar mix over the bread.

4.In a large bowl whisk together the eggs. Add the soy milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice), and vanilla extract, whisking until they are well blended.

5.Starting from the sides of the dish and working toward the center, pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture on top. If desired sprinkle a little nutmeg over the top.

6. Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. To save time I wrote the baking directions on the foil.

7. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 20 minutes covered, 30 more minutes uncovered, or until the top is slightly golden.I was still half asleep when I put this in the oven since my coffee was not yet done brewing.

To me, this tasted just like french toast. I will definitely be making this for Christmas morning, along with a few other things.

*Adapted from Family Fun Magazine.

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