There’s something about having guests overnight that makes a person feel all grown-up and hostessy and bed-and-breakfasty. But the thought of having your guests get up in the morning and look at you expectantly for breakfast can strike fear in the heart of any hostess. You ask yourself, “Can I just offer them some of my Fiber One cereal? Some cinnamon toast? Or do I have to turn on the stove and break out the pancake mix? Oh, forget it, let’s just go to Cracker Barrel!”
Cracker Barrel sounds like a good idea anytime, anywhere, but there’s another option that doesn’t require you to wrestle the kids into the car. I’m talking about a breakfast casserole, people. Something that you can put together the night before, throw in the fridge until morning, and then just pop in the oven so that you can put the coffee on and relax until your guests stumble into the kitchen.
A breakfast casserole that I’ve prepared for overnight guests is a Baked French Toast casserole (recipe below). I totally can’t remember where I found this recipe (maybe Pioneer Woman’s website?), but I’m so glad I did. I can’t even begin to describe the yumminess of this concoction. It’s even yummy after it’s been reheated, so leftovers are certainly an option. And it looks so rich and complicated that anyone you serve it to will be impressed at your culinary skills. Just make sure to use a nice deep casserole dish.
I also love an egg and sausage breakfast casserole. We enjoyed one of these yummy casseroles when we were guests once. The hostess actually baked it and left it warming in the oven for us so that we could get up as late as we wanted and they could go about their day. She left a note with directions along with plates, flatware, and coffee cups. It was such a nice treat to have a homemade breakfast without feeling like we were too much trouble for our hosts. Below the Baked French Toast recipe is the recipe for a Jimmy Dean Breakfast Casserole that’s oh-so-good. Can’t remember where I found it, probably allrecipes.com. You can customize it to your taste, as long as you keep the ratio of eggs to milk.
Enjoy! And save Cracker Barrel for another time!
Baked French Toast
1 loaf french bread
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk (I use skim because I enjoy irony)
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
dash of salt
Praline topping (recipe below)
1. Slice bread in 20 pieces. Arrange in a greased 9 x 13 pan in two layers.
2. Combine other ingredients until bubbly. Pour over bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350.
4. Spread praline topping over the whole thing and bake 40 minutes.
2 sticks butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Jimmy Dean Breakfast Casserole
1 (16 ounce) package Regular Flavor Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
10 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups cubed bread
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
1/2 cup thin-sliced green onion (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt; stir well.
2. Distribute half the bread evenly in a buttered 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half the pepper, half the cheese, half the sausage and half of each optional ingredient. Repeat layering using remaining bread, pepper, cheese, sausage and optional ingredients. Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole.
3. Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes, or until eggs are set. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly.
May be assembled ahead and refrigerated up to 12 hours before baking.