Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Breakfast for Dinner Part One: Not Your Standard Casserole

Good evening everyone!  While we were planning our cooking schedule this week, we accidentally both chose breakfast recipes.  We have done many adaptations of great breakfast dishes that adapt well to the evening meal.  This is great for us since we both love breakfast/brunch meals.  Tonight, I'm cooking up a hearty French Toast variation that will leave you wanting more!

The Recipe:  Easy French Toast Casserole
Original Recipe From:  www.myrecipes.com

What You'll Need:
2/3 Cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Dark Corn Syrup
1 1/2 Cups 1/% Low-Fat Milk
1/2 Cup Egg Substitute
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon grated Orange Rind
2 large Eggs
6 (1 1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread
6 Tablespoons frozen fat-free Whipped Topping, thawed
1 to 2 Teaspoons Grand Marnier (or orange-flavored liqueur)*
2 Tablespoons finely chopped Pecans, toasted

*Alternatively, if you do not have an orange-flavored liqueur handy, you can substitute orange extract, just remember that the extract will be more potent than the liqueur, so for every teaspoon of liqueur, use 1/4 teaspoon of extract.  Still the same flavor, without some of the booziness.

To start, prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying the bottom with cooking spray.  Next, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for five minutes, or until the ingredients come together, or until the sugar dissolves and it begins to bubble.  Be sure you stir this mixture constantly, or else the sugar will burn and will leave a not-so great smell in your kitchen!  After the mixture has come together, quickly transfer the mixture to the bottom of the baking dish and spread while the mixture is still hot to evenly coat the bottom of the dish.  Set the pan aside and let the dish cook completely.

Next, in a small mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg substitute, vanilla extract, salt, orange rind, and eggs.  Whisk until all the ingredients are all combined.  Place one bread slice into the egg mixture and flip the slice to coat on both sides.  Place the dredged bread slice in the sugar-lined dish.  Continue the dredging process and placing in the baking dish for the next bread slices.  Once all the pieces of bread are in the baking dish, pour any of the remaining egg mixture over the bread slices.  Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, take the baking dish out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.  By the time the oven is preheated, the dish should be ready to put in the oven.  Bake the casserole in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly browned.

While the casserole bakes, prepare the topping.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the whipped topping and the Grand Marnier until well combined.  Once the casserole is done baking, remove from the oven.  Place one bread slice, with the caramel side up, on a serving plate.  Top each piece of bread with a dollop of the prepared topping and a sprinkle of pecans.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Results:

Oh...my...goodness!  There were so many great parts about this dish that can't go unnoticed.  I've heard rave reviews about 24 hour and overnight soaks for French toast dishes and I can see why.  The bread is completely submerged in the egg mixture and creates almost a velvety feeling when you bite into it.  The caramel melted and creates a cloak of sweet texture over the bread.  The whipped topping has a hint of orange flavor and makes the toast even more delicious.  Even the pecans added a bit of a crunch and added to this already perfect dish.  This French toast casserole definitely cannot be missed and should be part of your next brunch lineup!

Thanks for joining us this evening.  Check back tomorrow when Tyler continues the breakfast for dinner theme with a brand new recipe.  Until then,


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