Saturday, December 24, 2011

French Toast Casserole

My present to you is something simple to pop in the oven on Christmas Morning.  This casserole is soft, buttery and so yummy. Oh did I mention it's easy to make?

French Toast Casserole
from JennyMac Lipsmack

1 loaf french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (10 cups)
8 eggs
3 cups half and half (or cream if you want it silky rich)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 strips of bacon, cooked and broken into pieces. 
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
maple syrup

Using a serrated knife cube your french bread into one inch pieces.  
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add bread and mix with egg mixture to coat.  Add bacon pieces and mix again.

Grease a 13X9 baking dish (those non stick glass ones are awesome).  Pour all your eggy bready bacony mixture into the baking dish.  Cover and place in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover and give the bread another stir.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over the bread cubes and dot with butter.  Cover with non stick foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve with maple syrup.
So rich and creamy, I love the smokey bacon with the sweet maple and the not really sweet eggy bread. 

Cooks Notes:
1.  Do not cut off that fabulous crust.  This recipe is awesome even with a day old loaf.  I bought my bread on Tuesday and prepped this Friday afternoon.  Yes, it was 'sketchy' to cut however my fingers all remained intact.
2. If you have homemade vanilla sugar hanging around like I FORGOT to use, this would be the ideal time to use it.
3.  I am going to try this again with some toasted pecans on top....YUM!!!!

Post Script.....
I hope you all are healthy and WARM this holiday season!  We've had a tough few weeks with no heat.  Our house was built in 1959.  We bought it 5 years ago knowing that the 3 Horsemen of the Homeowner's Apocalypse (the furnace, A/C and hot water heater) were OLD.  We feel we were truly blessed from this whole ordeal.   The Carbon Monoxide detector has been going off since last year and we were being stubborn and complacent.  We thought the detector was probably old...took it down, replaced it.  It didn't go off again....few months later it went off...."oh the batteries probably need to be replaced" (um, there is a signal for THAT by the way on the detector).  All the while the detector was going off during the middle of the night waking us up @ 3 in the morning.  The one night K-man was working through the night on a water main break and I was home alone the detector went off one hour after I turned on the heat when I came home from work.  This was odd.  I called K-man....what do I do?  (WHAT, WHERE was my brain?- mmmm, fuzzy from fumes perhaps?)
I called the Fire Dept and waited with my neighbor outside for them to arrive.  I let them in the front door and watched them come in with their CO monitor in hand.  As soon as he stepped in it beeped and he said It's 148!  Pointed to me.  "YOU- Get out."  What you may or may not know, BELOW 35 ppm (parts per million) is okay but anything above that is considered toxic and potentially lethal.  I was sitting in a house where the million of the oxygen molecules were tainted with 148 carbon monoxide ones!....I had no headache, no nausea, no vomiting, wasn't sleepy....however my common sense and get up and go safety know-how was stagnant.  I remember just standing there with K-man on the phone, listening to him tell me what to do and thinking/pouting...."why can't he be here and do this?"  I NEVER THINK like THAT....Add the symptom of DELERIUM to list from CO exposure.  Alas, a cracked heater exchange on a circa 1988 furnace was the cause.
Anyway.....since major appliances like the furnace, A/C and hot water heater a big to-do, located near one another and connected (via gas) and were ALL old.  Bundle the price, work....replace them all at once.  Holy crap.  1988= furnace and HWH but the A/C was the original install!  None of the houses in our development had A/C originally and the original owner of our house finally broke down in the 60's to put it in.  The estimator said it was a miracle we've been having any A/C in the past summers because this model belonged in a museum.  LOL.  So there you have $11,000 to our wallet during the holidays. LOVELY.  Bottom Line....YOU ALL NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CO DETECTOR IN YOUR HOUSE AND CALL 911 IF IT GOES OFF....we are so lucky to be alive.

Enjoying our warmth and feeling blessed, we wish the very same to you as 2011 comes to a close....

POST POST SCRIPT....thanks Anonymous commenter for your tip on correcting my error on the difference between carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).  Clearly my brain was still not functioning right in writing this post since I DO know my chemical elements and their abbreviations usually.  But thanks for your CONCERN.