Recipes

Croissant French Toast Casserole

My absolute favorite Christmas tradition is the French toast casserole my mom makes year after year. As I’ve mentioned before, cooking isn’t her favorite thing to do, but this casserole is only two ingredients which I believe is why it’s her favorite. You simply cover Texas toast in egg nog, then bake it for about an hour & voila! You have the easiest breakfast around. My mom likes to step it up a notch & add this delicious nutty topping that takes the casserole to a whole other level, but I thought I’d keep things simple for y’all. You may be wondering where the Texas toast is in this recipe but I thought I’d take my moms recipe & update it slightly by switching out the Texas toast for croissants. It’s Christmas after all so let’s make things fancy! This casserole is the perfect Christmas morning brunch because it all can be assembled the night before, then baked fresh Christmas morning!

Croissant French Toast Casserole

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 large croissants, torn into medium sized pieces & dried out overnight*
  • 1 half gallon egg nog
  • powdered sugar (for serving)
  • syrup (for serving)

Instructions:

Instructions:

  1. Place dried croissants into a large baking dish.
  2. Slowly pour the egg nog over the croissants until they are half way covered.
  3. Using clean hands, press down on the croissants submerging them in the egg nog. If there are still croissant pieces that are dry, go ahead & slowly add more egg nog until the croissants are covered. I ended up using less than the whole container but it will depend on how dry your croissants are.
  4. Press down one more time to ensure everything is packed into the dish.
  5. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap & place a heavy item (similar in size to the casserole dish so everything is covered) on top of the casserole to compact it.
  6. Let the casserole sit in the fridge for 6 hours, up to overnight.
  7. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees & bake the casserole for 1 hour, or until top is browned & center is cooked through. You can check the doneness of the casserole by inserting a small paring knife into the center, if the knife comes out clean, the casserole is finished! The middle of the casserole may still have some giggle to it, that’s okay it won’t fully harden because it’s a custard. 
  8. Serve casserole warm with powdered sugar & syrup. Enjoy!

Notes:

*if you don’t have time or forget to leave the croissants out overnight they can be dried in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes

Recipes

Cheesy Sausage & Hash Brown Casserole

Waking up on Christmas morning is easily one of the most exciting feelings. The only thing to make that feeling even better is waking up to the smell of cheesy sausage & hash brown casserole baking away in the oven. This recipe is super simple & can easily be made ahead of time so you don’t have to wake up any earlier on Christmas morning to make breakfast! You can assemble the whole casserole a day or two in advance & just pop it in the oven in the morning!

Cheese Sausage & Hash Brown Casserole

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 2 20oz bags refrigerated hash browns
  • salt
  • 12 eggs, scrambled & seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large onion, medium diced
  • 1lb breakfast sausage
  • 6oz shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees & prepare a baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray, then set aside.
  2. Cook the hash browns according to package & season with 1 teaspoon salt. As the hash browns begin to brown remove them to a large bowl. Once all the hash browns have browned & are moved to the bowl, begin cooking the onions.
  3. Sauté the onions in 2 teaspoons of oil, over medium heat, in the same skillet where you cooked the hash browns. Season the onions with ½ teaspoon of salt & cook until translucent & soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the onions are finished cooking, place them in the bowl with the hash browns & stir to combine.
  5. Return the pan to the heat & cook the sausage over medium heat until browned & cooked through. Make sure to break up the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  6. Once the sausage has cooked through it’s time to assemble the casserole. 
  7. Begin by laying down the hash brown & onion mixture. Then scoop on the sausage using a slotted spoon to leave off any excess oil. 
  8. Pour over the scrambled eggs & tilt the pan around to ensure the eggs are evenly distributed.
  9. Finally, sprinkle the top with cheese* & bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Then bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 

Notes:

*This is the point where you can refrigerate or freeze the casserole if not serving right away. Wrap the dish, tightly, in plastic wrap & foil, then place in the fridge or freezer. Once you’re ready to bake the casserole, remove it from the fridge & let it come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes before baking. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge before baking. 

Recipes

Pumpkin Pancakes

Growing up I always thought I didn’t like pumpkin because my parents never cooked with it or used it in the kitchen. It was an unfamiliar flavor to me that as an adult I just assumed I didn’t care for. But you know what happens when we assume right…

Fast forward to my adult years when I began cooking for myself and I realized I was in a position to do whatever I wanted in my own kitchen. Every fall there was so much buzz around pumpkin and everybody was obsessed. I knew I had to give it a try.

A couple years ago I made a recipe for pumpkin bread that I found on Pinterest which turned out to be delicious. Then it dawned on me, what else have I been missing out on? This bread was moist, deeply flavored and so easy to throw together. I was hooked. Chocolate Walnut Pumpkin Bread

As the years go on I try to incorporate more and more pumpkin dishes into my fall repertoire. I love fall, and especially Halloween, so I love to be able to get into the spirit in as many ways as possible. Cooking is definitely one of those ways. Now that I do 90% of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s I have been introduced to the plethora of pumpkin items that flood their shelves come September. Each week since the beginning of September, I have been picking up at least 1 (usually more) pumpkin related items from Trader Joe’s and I am pleased to say I have yet to be disappointed. I will do a separate post reviewing each of the pumpkin items in detail for you guys!

This morning I tried the pumpkin pancakes and oh my word. They were incredible. It was a boxed dry pancake mix that only required you to add butter, milk and 1 egg. Simple right? And totally customizable!

The end result was an incredibly fluffy pancake with deep fall flavors. Not overpoweringly pumpkin flavored, but a nice balance of pumpkin and spices. I added chopped walnuts to a few which gave the pancakes a great crunch. I also made a couple with both walnuts and chocolate chips which I HIGHLY recommend because they were out of this world.

I topped these bad boys with Trader Joe’s new Vanilla Bean Infused Maple Syrup which I also highly recommend. The vanilla in the syrup paired nicely with the spices in the pancakes to create the perfect fall bite.

I served the pancakes with a quick scramble made with eggs, chopped bell peppers, Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage  and mozzarella cheese.

Happy Brunching!

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And I obviously had to bust out the festive plates because it’s only 24 days till Halloween!