OK, so yesterday was my kids first day back to school and while I am enjoying a quiet and relatively clean house for a change, I am also thinking of all the things I should have done to make the end of summer transition smoother. One thing high on that list is getting the freezer stocked with lots of ready-to-go meals especially dinners. I will post more of those freezer friendly dinners later but for now I will share one of my other favorites–freezer friendly breakfast. I am not a morning person and since my two teenagers have to get up at 6:30 I am so grateful for my sweet hubby who gets up with them. He generally makes them a hot breakfast (the content of most cereal boxes is questionable at best) but I try to help out by having ready-made options in the freezer. This is one of my boys’ favorites.
The great thing about this recipe is that you probably have the ingredients in your Kitchen right now. The exception might be the bread which is a rustic Italian loaf. You can’t use sandwich bread here, people. It must be a rustic Italian or French loaf. My favorite is this loaf from Walmart that cost a whopping 99 cents. It is just their own brand and it works great.
Put the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. I used my inversion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools) just to make sure the egg is totally incorporated. You don’t want any pieces of cooked egg in the finished product. If you don’t have an inversion blender you could use a regular blender (and then go buy and immersion blender asap).
Slice the bread about toast-thick and then spread out on a tray leaving most of the bread surface exposed. It helps to get an even number of slices including the end pieces (don’t waste those end pieces folks, they work great here 🙂 Leave on the counter for 1-3 hours. This is an important step and ensures your baked french toast will have a good texture. Sometimes I flip the pieces over so both sides get nice and stale.
After the bread has gone stale make your sandwiches. My family’s favorite filling is Nutella but feel free to get creative here. you could do PB & J, Nutella & PB, Nutella & cream cheese, jam & cream cheese…you get the idea. Be generous with whatever filling you choose and if you’re obsessive like me, you kept all your pieces in the order you sliced them so they have perfect matching partners. If you didn’t, just match them up as best you can and don’t tell me when yours looks exactly like mine in the end.
Once the sandwiches are made you just cut them up into bite size pieces and fit them snugly in the greased and syrup-ed 9×13 pan. It may take a little fiddling here to get them all in. Gently pour in the egg mixture, cover with plastic and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning bake uncovered, cool and cut into pieces. You can serve this with any syrup but we found that it is awesome with my homemade Vanilla Caramel Syrup but real maple syrup works great too.
If you are taking a picture for your blog post your plate will look something like this. If you are just feeding hungry, almost late for the bus kids it will look entirely different and that’s okay. Enjoy!
Nutella Overnight Baked French Toast
2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 loaf rustic Italian or French bread (or use Challah or Brioche)
1 small jar Nutella
butter for pan
Cut bread into an even number of toast-thick slices. Lay slices on a pan with most of the bread surface exposed. Leave out on the counter for 2-3 hours.
In a large bowl and using an immersion blender, mix together eggs, milk, cream and vanilla until frothy. Set aside.
Generously grease a 9×13 pan.
Spread 2 slices of bread with Nutella (or filling of your choice–see above) and make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining bread. Cut each sandwich into bite size pieces and put into baking dish, arranging piece to fit. Carefully pour egg mixture over bread pieces. Press down with a spatula to ensure all the bread is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight.
In the morning preheat oven to 350 degress. Remove plastic wrap and bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes (less time will leave it softer and more custard-like). Cut into pieces and serve with syrup.
NOTE: These babies freeze beautifully. I cut mine into serving size pieces and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen I put them in a gallon ziplock bag. If someone wants it for breakfast they just pull one out, put it on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter. In the morning it just takes a minute in the microwave and breakfast is served. Assuming your brother didn’t get to it first :/