Monday, January 31, 2011

taking my organization to a whole new level...

The whole foods experiment was alive and well last night for dinner! I combined two of my passions- whole foods and planning - big day for me! I made a yummy french toast casserole for dinner last night, which is best if made ahead of time, which is where the planning came in. The recipe was somewhat low in fat- as low as it can be with eggs as the major ingredient! I have made this recipe both with and without the cream cheese and personally, I like it better without. I also like it best with raspberries but any berry would be good. So yesterday morning my son and I worked side by side in the kitchen layering the bread in the pan and whisking the eggs and milk together. When first poured over the bread pieces not all pieces may coat well, so letting the casserole sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours is very important.

french toast casserole

12 slices dry white bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2  8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, cut into 3/4 inch cubes. (optional)
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I like using fresh raspberries)
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup maple syrup

(the bread needs to be dry. I use the same method as I would for making bread crumbs. cut the bread into the 1/2 inch cubes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or in a large baking pan. bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring a few times. cool before use in the casserole.)

Place half of the bread cubes in the bottom of a well greased baking dish. Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and berries over bread cubes. Layer remaining bread cubes over fruit.

In separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and syrup. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. Cover tightly with saran wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Casserole can be chilled for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove saran wrap and cover dish with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for at least another additional 25 minutes. When done knife will come out clean and top will be puffed up and browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with warm syrup.

This recipe is very easy to halve, which is great for my little family. It is also a great breakfast casserole for a crowd, especially since it can be made ahead and just popped in the oven when the crowd shows up at your breakfast table. I use skim milk and light syrup, cutting fat and calories, and cannot tell the difference.
Other accomplishments from this weekend - managing to plan our entire month's worth of dinners in order to use my 20% off FoodPerks at Giant Eagle. Considering February holds Chinese New Year, numerous Chinese New Year events and parties, FU social group outing, Chinese School, Matthew's 4th birthday party, and, hopefully, a trip overseas, managing to plan so many meals in advance and get the shopping done for it, is HUGE for me. HUGE!

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