Since my New Years resolution was more blog writing,
My friends always tease me about my “menu” chalkboard, some have emailed to see what’s for dinner that week in case they want to show up just in time to eat, others ask looking for ideas for their own family meals. I must admit though I seem to have fallen off the wagon a bit. When my boys were younger it was always easy to plan a weeks worth of dinners and stick to it. Now I plan around practices, games, swim lessons and anything else that seems to happen when you live in a house with teenagers, a seven year old and a school administrator and sometimes there is just no way to avoid eating in shifts or after 8PM.
What I do still try to do at least every Sunday after looking at the schedule for the week is make a list of at least 5 meals based on what I know I have the ingredients for so I won’t need to run to the store when dinner is being put together late or if we need to eat before we head out for a game. I won’t lie, I have raised a team of picky eaters…or maybe it’s not my fault? Maybe they have inherited it from their picky eating father? Whatever the case I do my best to make everyone happy at least once a week!
There are certain meals that I know I can get a smile and a “that was good mom” out of my boys. Typically once a week we have breakfast for dinner, we never seem to be able to have breakfast together, even on the weekends, and it is a meal that we all like. Many times we have eggs, scrambled, poached or fried, and pancakes are always a hit, especially for my youngest. But every so often I will throw in a surprise A-Ma’s French Toast Casserole. A-Ma is what my boys call my mom, a name given to her by my oldest and it has stuck! My mom introduced French toast casserole, I believe, one Christmas morning. We were in love, crispy on the top, sweet, thick pieces with no need to add syrup it was already in there! We continued for several years to have French toast casserole for Christmas morning, Easter brunch and if by chance A-Ma was babysitting over night and the boys would beg her to make “her” French toast.
It dawned on me about a year ago that I too could make French toast casserole, but not just for breakfast! I make it for my breakfast loving family but for dinner! I watch my local grocery store for French bread in their “day old” rack and freeze it so I have it on hand. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my “picky” eaters (feel free to add nuts back into your recipe). When I make it for dinner I put this recipe together in the morning as it needs to soak for at least 6 hours before baking.
A-Ma’s French Toast Casserole
1 ½ Cups half and half (I have used milk and heavy cream as well with success)
1/3 Cup maple syrup (I use the syrup that is in the fridge, nothing fancy)
1/3 Cup packed light brown sugar
10 to 12 slices french bread
½ Cup butter (1 stick)
½ Cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 Cup maple syrup
(2 Cups chopped pecans if you don’t have picky eaters like me)
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish
- Mix the eggs, half and half (milk or heavy cream), syrup and sugar in a bowl. Place the bread in the baking dish and cover with the egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak overnight or for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. (If I don’t get the casserole in the fridge to give it at least 6 hours to soak I will flip the bread pieces over about an hour before baking so that the entire piece is coated in the egg mixture).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator.
- Prepare the topping: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and syrup and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. (this is where you would add the pecans if you like). Pour the mixture over the bread and bake for 45 – 55 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Even on the craziest of nights I know I can please my family with French Toast Casserole. It’s a guaranteed empty dish, I add either bacon or sausage and fresh fruit to the meal and everyone is happy! So whether you are looking for an easy week night dinner or something to impress your guests this is a meal that is sure to please.
I hope you enjoy French Toast Casserole as much as we do....this year my boys have asked for homemade cinnamon rolls for Easter breakfast...another blog post!!
And be sure to stay tuned I have several blog posts brewing I am determined to spread my love for decorating, cooking and enjoying life! Be sure to check out my friend, the one who thinks I can write, Marcy Blesy's blog....she is a REAL book written, story tellin' author! http://marcyblesy.com/