NOT YOUR MAMA’S KITCHEN: Breakfast casseroles can brighten up any day


May 21. 2014 12:24AM
By Sara Pokorny [email protected]



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Breakfast at any time of the day is pretty much what my world revolves around. Breakfast dishes are simple and scrumptious, and I’ve just found one that’s not only easy to put together, but can be enjoyed for days after, hot or cold.


The lazy foodie in me rejoices.


This blueberry cream cheese French toast casserole is heavy on flavor but light on work, though I will warn you now that it requires overnight refrigeration. (I hate when recipes don’t tell me that in advance.)


For starters, grab a loaf of your favorite bread and cut it into cubes. The original recipe calls for a loaf of Texas toast or French toast bread, which I imagine works best because of its thickness, but I grabbed a loaf of soft rye just because I really enjoy the taste, and it worked out just fine.


You’ll also need 8 ounces of cream cheese slightly softened, one-third cup of granulated sugar, one-and-a-half cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed and drained and lightly tossed with flour), cinnamon, eight eggs, one-and-a-half cups of milk, three quarters of a cup of maple syrup, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 6 tablespoons of butter, melted.


Coat a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and layer one half of the bread cubes in it, making sure to leave no spaces in between. Make sure you’ve let the cream cheese soften or creaming it together with the sugar will be tough on the wrists. I prefer using a wooden spoon, the back of it always facing your container. Whip the cream cheese around a bit to soften it even more before adding the sugar.


Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls over the bread, then layer the blueberries over that, spreading everything evenly throughout. No one wants a casserole bite devoid of the good ingredients. Cover everything up with the remaining bread — it’s OK if some cream cheese or blueberries are sticking out — then sprinkle with the desired amount of cinnamon.


Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the bread, using a spatula to press the bread and soak up the mixture. This is where the going gets tough because you’ll want to dive right in, but you must cover it and refrigerate overnight.


The next day, bake the dish at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, then get to scooping it out.


Be wary, however, of the “Hot Pocket” effect (YouTube Jim Gaffigan’s Hot Pocket bit and thank me later), as it seems the parts of the casserole that contain more cream cheese have a tendency to be hotter than expected. It’d be a shame to have a burned mouth obscure the taste of this dish.


Feel free to reheat any leftovers, but also know that popping this back into the fridge and eating it cold may be an even more delicious approach.


BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE


Courtesy of kludgymom.com


Serves 8


INGREDIENTS:


• 1 loaf Texas toast, French toast bread, or really any bread you find tasty, cut into cubes


• 8 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened


• 1/3 cup granulated sugar


• 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries, tossed lightly with flour


• Cinnamon


• 8 large eggs


• 1 1/2 cups milk


• 3/4 cup maple syrup


• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


• 6 tablespoons butter, melted


DIRECTIONS:


• Coat a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer one half of bread cubes in baking dish.


• Cream together sugar and cream cheese and drop by teaspoonfuls over bread. Layer blueberries over cream cheese. Cover blueberries with remaining bread. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.


• Mix remaining ingredients and pour over bread, then press bread with spatula to help soak up mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


• Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes.




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