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Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

It’s finally cooling off a little bit down in Charleston, with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s.  I am loving the break from the deathly heat.  And, best of all, it finally feels appropriate to start cooking and baking with pumpkin!  Now don’t get me wrong, because I could eat pumpkin-anything year-round, and I don’t know that I would get tired of it.  However, Craig pumpkins out a lot more easily.  I’m worried that he’s going to get tired of my unending autumn-talk about pumpkin and then not want to eat all of my creations, but I really can’t help it.  Pumpkin is just so amazing!

My first pumpkin baking experience this year was an overnight pumpkin French toast casserole.  I love classic French toast, and there was not a doubt in my mind that I would love any French toast that had a pumpkin twist to it.  With this recipe, I was particularly interested in the “casserole” aspect, especially because that meant I could do the preparation the night before and just stick it in the oven in the morning.  No having to stand at the stove the entire time.  Just pop it in, and you are free to curl up on the couch, enjoy a cup of coffee, and take in the morning stillness while the casserole bakes.

I was definitely happy with how these turned out.  You bake the toast with two layers of bread in the pan, so each pumpkin French toast “sandwich” is basically a serving.  Craig thought these were absolutely fabulous.  The pumpkin aspect obvious makes this the perfect breakfast for an autumn Saturday morning.  The casserole aspect of it definitely adds a different twist from regular French toast.  I wouldn’t say regular or casserole French toast is better.  They are just different, and I really like both.

I will say that casserole French toast is probably a nice option to have if you have company in town, because you can throw it together the night before and then actually enjoy the company of your guests while it bakes in the morning instead of being stuck in the kitchen making breakfast while everyone else is talking in the family room or something.

This is a very rich meal, especially if you add the syrup on top.  I must warn you that if you eat too much, you will definitely want to go back to sleep for a while right after breakfast.  I know this from experience.  😉

Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Recipe From: Daily Dish Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
    • I used Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine
  • 12 slices white bread
    • The original recipe calls for what you would think of as you typical “bread-shaped” bread, however Craig was 100% adamant that he would not have French toast that did not use French bread…so that’s what we used.  🙂
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
    • I used vanilla soy milk.

Recipe

  1. Melt the butter or margarine and pour it into a 9X13in pan.
  2. Mix the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice together.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla together.
  4. Lay a single layer of six slices of bread into the casserole dish.
  5. Spread a thin layer of pumpkin (as if you were buttering a piece of bread) over all the all the bread slices.
  6. Sprinkle about half of the brown sugar/pumpkin pie spice mixture over the layer of pumpkin.
  7. Now repeat steps 4-6 again with a second layer of bread (each slice should pretty much line up with the one below it).
  8. Pour the egg mixture over the top of it all, and sprinkle any remaining brown sugar/pumpkin pie mixture over the top.
  9. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at lest 4-8 hours…the longer, the better.
  10. In the morning (or after your soaking time), cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Then, remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.  It should be golden and set.
  11. Remove from oven and serve hot.  Sprinkle with some powdered sugar if you would like.  You could also serve this with some butter, whipped cream, or syrup on top…or you could just eat it plain.  It’s fabulous.  Enjoy!

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Squash Casserole

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When I think of dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, I think of squash casserole.  Craig tells me that his mom actually never really made this delicious side-dish until he and his brother were both adults, but it has been a regular dish since I began hanging around.  Honestly, she probably makes a point to make her squash casserole when Craig and I visit specifically because of how much I always say how much I love it, but that is perfectly fine with me.

There are a few reasons that I particularly love this casserole.

  1. It is a casserole that Craig can eat.
    • So many casseroles contain cream-of-[insert whatever] soup, and Craig can’t eat those.  Of course, I could create some sort of dairy-free version of those ingredients from scratch and then attempt all these otherwise-un-Craig-friendly recipes, but I don’t have that type of time on a typical evening.  One day, I would love to have an extra freezer so that I can make all these dairy-free basics from scratch and then freeze them to use in casseroles and other meals when I need them, but we don’t have that kind of room right now.  If I want to whip something together quickly for dinner, it’s going to have to be dairy-free (or easily altered to be dairy-free) from the get-go.
  2. It has a vegetable in it, and Craig likes it.
    • Now it’s not that Craig isn’t willing to eat vegetables at all.  He’s almost always willing to try something at least once, and he has definitely taught himself to like some vegetables way more than he used to.  Still, it’s hard to find vegetable-focused foods that Craig really loves.
      • Before anyone has an urge to comment and tell me how having a casserole with a vegetable the title doesn’t mean it’s healthy because of the high caloric content, there is no need to waste your time.  I am well aware that a squash casserole has way more calories than plain squash, and honestly, I’m thankful for that.  Yes, I definitely have to be aware of my portions so I don’t consume more calories than I should, but Craig’s metabolism is so insanely fast!  And it’s not the “You-have-a-fast-metabolism-because-you-are-young-and-active” type of fast.  It’s the “You-have-amazing-calorie-obliterating-genetics-and will-always-have-to-consume-WAY-more-calories-than-a-norml-person-no-matter-what” type of fast.  I literally have to ALWAYS keeps baked goods in our kitchen so that Craig has them available to eat some calorie-dense food when he needs it.  If he only consumed what we would consider “healthy and nutritious” food, Craig literally could not consume enough calories to keep from losing weight.  Yeah, I know.  It’s simply unfair.  My dad, my twin brother, Craig’s mom, and Craig all have these metabolisms.  In my family, we (being the less metabolically-blessed family members) call them H.M.F.s…standing for High Metabolism Freaks.  But I digress…  My point is, if I can find something that includes a vegetable and is a little higher in calories than just the vegetable itself, that’s even better for Craig.
  3. I like it!
    • Yeah, I’m well aware of the fact that I just listed “I like it” as a reason that “I love this casserole.”  It seems redundant, I know.  However, my goal of Craig-friendly recipes is not to create something that someone who never has any dairy would like.  My goal is to create something dairy-free, but that anyone who eats dairy-filled recipes on a regular basis would still enjoy eating.  This falls into that category.

My mother-in-law told me that she’s basically had this recipe forever, and that she originally found in an old Southern Living recipe book.  I tried to find it again online, but they pretty much have ten million squash casserole recipes, so oh well.  I did my best to give them credit.  🙂

Squash Casserole Recipe*

  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs (divided)  –>  I didn’t crumble my crackers very small because I like the bigger chunks, but the originally recipe has the crackers really crumbled.
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (which I obviously omitted)
  • 1(-ish) pound yellow squash

*I actually made just under a double-batch, so if you are thinking to yourself that what you see in the pictures is more than I have listed above, that’s because you’re right!

Directions

  1. Clean the squash and cut off the ends.  Then, cut up, boil and mash the squash.
  2. Combine mayo, onion, 1/4 cup of the cracker crumbs, egg, sugar, salt, & pepper.
  3. Combine the mayo mixture to the mashed squash, and mix well.
  4. Pour into a lightly greased 1 quart casserole dish.
  5. Sprinkle the other 1/4 of the cracker crumbs on top.
  6. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.I used whole wheat crackers, so don’t expect your crackers to be this brown when your casserole is done if you are using regular crackers.  At that point, the crackers would probably be burnt.
  7. (If using cheese) After the casserole is baked, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of cheese on top, and stick the casserole back in the oven until the cheese is melted.

We enjoyed our casserole with a deliciously marinaded london broil, rolls from the Publix bakery, a glass of Malbec, and a salad with mixed greens, craisins, slivered almonds, goat cheese, and a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette.

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