Weekend Brunch Part II

So your first option is the World’s Greatest Granola. It’s easy, relatively quick, and provides you with a hot breakfast today and left-overs for the rest of the week.

But if granola isn’t your thing, here are a couple of others for the weekend.

Let’s start with french toast. I love french toast, but it’s hard to make for 4+ people if you make it the traditional way, by dipping bread in the batter and frying up on the griddle. The first one served either has to eat his warm toast alone or wait for everyone else and watch his golden fried bread go cold. And for some reason my first batch never looks like the last batch, since cleaning the griddle or skillet between servings isn’t really an option.

But baked french toast makes all of that go away. Whip it up the night before, let it soak up the custard all night, clean up the kitchen before you go to bed, and then just pop it in the oven when everyone’s up the next morning.

I use day old french bread, but any sturdy artisan bread will work. I’ve cut the recipe in half for just the two of us, doubled it for company, or make it as listed here. Any left-overs can be put in the fridge and nuke for 20-30 seconds for breakfast later in the week.

2 baguettes or one large loaf of french bread, day old or air dried for a couple of hours
(Slice the bread into 2 inch slices)
7-8 eggs
1 ¼ cups milk and 1 ¼ cups half-and-half, or 2 ½ cups buttermilk, or any other combo
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Spice: minimum of ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼-½ teaspoons of cinnamon, ginger, or cloves, according to your taste. (I’m a big user of ginger — probably use a full teaspoon plus half a teaspoon of cinnamon, but that’s your call.)

Butter or spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. (13X9 for the 2 baguette version, but it’s best to lay down the sliced bread and eye-ball it to see what size you need. I’ll use two smaller pans a lot of the time.)

Whisk together everything else in a largish bowl. A wide bottom in essential so that you can soak as much of the bread at the bottom as possible.

Gently place the sliced bread into the custard mixture and let is soak up the egg for about 5 minutes. You might need to toss the bread once or twice to get it all evenly soaked. Use tongs (silicon coated are best) so you don’t tear the bread.

Place the coated bread into your baking dish, and pour any extra egg mixture evenly over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. You can chill it for as little as an hour, if you get up early to make it the same day, or for up to 24 hours before the bread will start to fall apart.

When it’s time to bake it, make a streusel topping as follows:

½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
dash of salt
3 Tablespoons butter, slightly melted
¼ cup sliced almonds

Mix everything in a small bowl and spoon over the sliced bread.

Pre-heat the oven to 375º and then bake for about 30 minutes, until the bread is set and the struesel is golden brown.

Serve plain with maple syrup or with sliced fruit, berries, or what have you. Just no peanut butter! We’re not savages here, you know. And no hot sauce — it’s not a t-rat, after all.

So there’s option #2. Option #3 is a sausage / potato casserole. This one is great for a family sit-down breakfast if one person can get up about half an hour before everyone else. It takes about 20-30 minutes to assemble, and then you bake it for 30, so you have half an hour to clean up and get the table set. I love recipes like that, because there’s nothing worse than enjoying a great meal and then looking at a trashed kitchen when everyone wents to get started on the weekend.

This came from our buddies to the east at the Greasy Skillet. He did a great job explaining the steps, so I won’t steal his thunder. Check it out here.

Like he said, we need to add some veggies to this. I’m thinking a half-cup each of sauted green peppers and onions, but I need to figure out whether it goes on the bottom with the sausage or into the flour/egg mixture. Spinach might work, and you can’t miss with tomotoes, either.

So the ball’s now in your court. You have three choices for a hot, sit-down, family breakfast instead of cold cereal in front of the TV this Saturday morning.

Now comes the fun part… burning off all of these calories.

Happy trails!

About SAO'

Dad to two amazing girls, husband to one.
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