Saturday, 31 March 2012

Apple Raisin French Toast Bake

Sometimes if I'm really lucky dinner goes without a hitch.  You know those kind of blissful meals that I'm referring to.  The meals that seem to easily come together and culminate in a half hour where no one complains, everyone enjoys a delicious meal together and you get your family singing your praises about the food that you've lovingly prepared.  While meals like this seem to be as rare as seeing a yeti in a tutu singing a Clay Aiken song I can vouch that they are indeed real.  Rare, but real.  Its wonderful meals like that when I'm not sure if my moon was in the sixth circle of Venus or I've won some kind of karmic jackpot but I adore meals that are easy, tasty and get a 'standing O' from my peeps!!

With me going back to work this past Fall you know I'm always on the lookout for easy supper ideas that also taste great and are Whine-Free (ie. my kids love it).  My spawn are all die-hard breakfast fanatics so I went on the hunt for an overnight casserole recipe to serve for supper.  I figured I'd whip it up the night before and pop it in the fridge until supper time the following day.  Easy peasy! 

Now, I'm hoping that you're all big Baking Bookworm fans and are thinking "But Laurie, you already have two overnight French toast casseroles here on your blog!" (Overnight French Toast Bake and Apple Cinnamon Overnight French Toast).  Yes, yes I do.  This recipe may seem very similar to my Apple Cinnamon Overnight French Toast but it really isn't. That recipe used canned apple pie filling and while it was really delicious it was also very sweet. As a self-proclaimed 'salty gal' I wanted a less sugary dish (so I don't feel as bad bathing my French toast in gallons of maple syrup). Plus, using fresh apples is always better, right? Another way that this recipe stands out is that I used two types of bread (Cinnamon Raisin and Italian sandwich breads) and cut the slices into cubes which made serving it so much easier.

If you think that I have an obsession with breakfast foods that hang out in my fridge for several hours, you may be correct.  But I have good reasons.  First of all, my kids luuurve breakfast foods any time of day (especially Boy 2 - aka Mr Kellogg's).  Secondly, who doesn't love getting a meal ready ahead of time so you just have to pop it in the oven?  No one, that's who.  And third?  We're a proud Canadian family.  We have maple syrup running through our veins so creating a reason to eat maple syrup is a no brainer.  Can I hear an 'EH!!' from my fellow Canucks?!?

I do have a couple of beefs about breakfast though.  Breakfast foods are pretty messy (who among us loves to scrape scrambled eggs remnants out of a pan or adores dealing with bacon grease?).  Plus often times breakfast dishes are made to order.  This is where a breakfast casserole comes in handy.  One dish and everyone eats at the same time.  Mom or Dad isn't stuck manning the griddle while the next batch of pancakes or French toast cooks!

So did my family love this dish?  Weellll, I don't want to brag but I'm pretty sure that Boy 2 has nominated me for Mom of the Year.  After he sang my praises, gave me a hug and put his eyes back in his head after looking at this casserole he ate two enormous helpings.  I'm talking H-U-G-E!!  He even had some the following day.  "I'd like to thank Boy 2 and the Academy for this award ..."  But I digress.  My other two mini humans?  They were scared off by the raisins.  My kids compete in martial arts, go on massive roller coasters, camp in the middle of Canadian winters .... and they're scared of raisins.  Go figure.  That was fine with Boy 2 who was more than happy to have less competition for this casserole. 

Yield: 8 servings

1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch cloves
3 MacIntosh apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 (450g) loaf of cinnamon raisin bread - cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 loaf of Italian bread - cut into 1-inch cubes
8 eggs - beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
Garnish -- maple syrup or powdered sugar
Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Place butter into a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter has melted.  Add the brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Stir until combined (mixture will be thick).  Add the apples and gently stir until apples are covered with the brown sugar mixture.  Pour apple mixture into the prepared dish.

Place the bread cubes into a large bowl and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, vanilla extract and 2 tsp of cinnamon.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until the bread is well coated.  Place bread cubes over the apple layer.  Cover dish with foil that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray (so it doesn't stick to the casserole) and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove French toast casserole from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375F.  Bake casserole, covered with foil, for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

Serve warm with powdered sugar or maple syrup.

Recipe Inspired by: Apple Raisin French Toast Casserole

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1 comment:

Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

Aren't those the best meals! And yes so rare... we seem to be going through a phase where at least one child mentions farting every time we sit down to eat. Joy...

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