French toast casserole

16 03 2008

Today was the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it’s the last year that we’ll live within walking distance.  (Sad to be leaving our little city apartment, but exciting to move into our new house in the ‘burbs!)  Of course we needed to take full advantage and invite our friends over to drink some mimosas and fill our bellies with food before braving the chilly air, puddles, and hordes or green clad parade-goers! 

My plan was to research recipes and expertly (ha!) put together the perfect spread of delicious brunch food.  Well… this week was a brutal one, because I squeezed in 38 parent teacher conferences in 4 days, and all that planning time that I thought I had went right out the window.  And then I had to fit in a 12 mile run this morning before everyone came over at 11am.  I should mention that I got back from the run at 10am, leaving me 1 hour to shower, throw on my green shirt, and get my butt in gear in the kitchen. 

Instead of having a lovely array of delicious food ready when everyone arrived, I had a few St. Patrick’s Day plates and napkins out, a husband still in the shower, and French toast casserole just making it into the oven.  Forget about the quiche that I thought I’d have time for, too.  Once the first champagne bottle was opened, I prioritized.  Friends and mimosas beat out slaving in the kitchen any day! 

The moral of the story?  I’m not sure, but I have a few ideas:

1. When you’re entertaining, make sure you have more time to plan things out rather than thinking things will magically all come together in the morning.

2. Don’t plan to get back from a 12 mile run one hour before guests arrive.  Showering and cooking and doing last minute cleaning do not fit into a mere 60 minutes!

3. Know when to give up on the quiche and grab a mimosa with friends instead!

 What about the French toast casserole, you ask?  (If you managed to read this far, that is!)  It turned out fabulously, and it received a hearty thumbs-up from everyone… which could have been a result of the mimosas and Guinness, but I prefer to think that it really was that tasty!  I didn’t take a picture while everyone was here, but I did manage to snap a shot of some cold leftovers from the fridge.  Better than nothing, I guess! 

(P.S. Don’t you just want to reach into the picture and grab that stray pecan?!)

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 T. granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline topping
Maple syrupDirections:

1. Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each.  Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 x 13 inch flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and beat with a rotary beater or whisk into blended but not bubbly. 

3. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered with the egg-milk mixture.  Spoon some of the mixture between the slices.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Spread the praline topping over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup.

 Praline Topping

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. 

*** My changes: I used a sliced baguette instead of larger pieces of French bread, because I told Brett to get the wrong kind of bread at the store!  It worked out perfectly though.  I just didn’t use all of the egg mixture since there was less bread involved.  Same goes for the praline mixture.  ***




One response

16 03 2008

Looks Awesome, my hubby would love it!

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