This month's Recipe Swap theme was Breakfast. I was very excited about this, because during the week breakfast in our home usually consists of cereal or oatmeal (in the colder months) and on weekends it's nice to have something a little more special.
My assignment was French Toast Casserole, submitted by Coleen at Does Not Cook Well With Others. It's similar to a dish my father makes that I've been dying to try, but swap rules say that you have to make the recipe given, not just something inspired by it, so my dad's recipe will be a post for another day. I know how much I like that French toast, so I was excited to try this one out!
The recipe is simple to follow. The only thing to take note of is that this needs to set for at least 8 hours in the fridge and then come back up to room temperature before cooking for 50 min, so you need to prep it the night before and take it out of the fridge almost 2 hours before meal time. This is a meal you definitely have to plan ahead for.
I copied the recipe below from the recipe given me, but I did end up using some slightly different ingredients. The recipe calls for Pepperidge Farm Hearty White bread (according to reviews on the original recipe post on Cooking Light, that's the bread that holds up best after soaking up the custard). Well, I wasn't going to a big grocery store that week. I ended up at a country food market that's known for its baked goods, so I bought a loaf of their country white bread and used that. They also didn't sell reduced fat cream cheese, so I bought the full fat kind (it's not like I was eating this entire thing in one sitting, right??).
I think it still came out great. Of course, there were only two of us eating it, so I ended up having it not only for breakfast on Sunday, but also Monday and Tuesday and still had about half of the pan left. I think this is the kind of dish you only make if you have plenty of people to help eat it!
French Toast Casserole (given to me by Does Not Cook Well With Others)
16 slices Pepperidge Farm Hearty White bread, sliced into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese at room temperature
8 large eggs
1 ½ cups reduced fat (2%) milk
⅔ cup half-and-half
½ cup real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the cubes evenly in the dish.
cream cheese until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a
time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add in
the milk, half-and-half, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until
Pour the custard over the bread cubes. Cover the dish and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
to serve, remove baking dish from
refrigerator and let come to room temperature on the counter (about 30
minutes). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 50
minutes or until custard is set. Serve warm or room temperature.
powdered sugar over casserole just before serving, and serve with
additional maple syrup.