I hate mornings. I always have. I am a girl that loves her sleep. Being that I have two boys that are five and six, I have experienced many early mornings. Luckily I married a guy who is also an early bird so most of the time I am able to get a little bit of extra shut-eye in here and there.
The hating mornings aside, I do love a piping hot breakfast which is why I adore Paula Deen's breakfast casserole recipe. I mean adore it. Not only is it prepared the night before so I don't have to worry about getting up and making three hungry guys a warm breakfast, but it is decadent. Of course it comes with lots of butter, sugar and fat which is a prerequisite in all Paula Deen recipes, so while you may not be able to make this all the time, on the occasional Sunday or holiday, it is definitely worth it.
A couple of things to note, I deviated from the recipe on the Food Network site to adjust it to my own tastes and textures. I cut down the eggs by two and cut down the half-and-half listed to only one cup instead of two. By doing this the casserole is less "soupy" and lighter & fluffier. I also modified the Praline topping a bit, using less nuts. Some may think I am crazy, but again, this is just to my tastes. For Paula's Exact Frenct Toast Casserole recipe, just click on this link. Yes, the image I used is from the Food Network site because no matter what I do my casserole never looks quite as pretty as Paula's, but trust me, it is fabulous!
French Toast Casserole
French Toast Ingredients
1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces) OR 3/4 of the loaf of Texas Toast
6 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and make the Praline Topping.
Praline Topping Ingredients
2 sticks butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.