Cooking during the pandemic: healthier, easy-breezy, luscious French Toast Casserole with Apples and Raisins

Cooking during the pandemic: healthier, easy-breezy, luscious French Toast Casserole with Apples and Raisins

I'm not sure what it is about staying locked in my house, but, somehow, I find myself thinking about food a lot now (I mean no disrespect to the countless people who actually can't afford to put food on the table).

Not that I make gourmet meals night and day. But I get definite cravings and then go to town or, at least to the kitchen because, really, where am I going to go?

Last night, I was jonesing for French toast. In the morning, I made French Toast Casserole with Apples and Raisins instead.

It's hard to believe, but this French Toast Casserole is not only healthier than regular French toast, it's easier to make and more delicious than you can imagine.

It's healthier because it starts with healthier ingredients-- whole wheat bread, apples with the fiber-rich skin left on, and antioxidant and omega-3-loaded walnuts.

If you want the dish to be slightly more decadent, add the butter, which, eaten in moderation, is surprisingly good for you--containing important nutrients. Either way, the result will be a luscious treat.

In fact, think of it as an easier--yet elevated--version of French toast.

But how could regular French toast be any easier to make, you ask? Because you don't have to stand at the stove waiting to flip each slice over at just the right moment. You just pour the ingredients into a casserole dish, bake and go do whatever you want.

You can even put it all together the night before and pop it in the oven the next morning, making it perfect for serving on Christmas morning or just an ordinary one.

Healthier French Toast Casserole with Apples & Raisins

4 slices whole wheat bread, broken up into small pieces
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 medium apple, diced into 1/2-inch pieces with skin left on
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
optional: 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into 4 individual pats

In medium bowl, beat three eggs with milk and vanilla. Add bread pieces, apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together until well combined and the bread is soaked with the milk.

Pour into 8-inch square pan that's been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle top of casserole with walnut pieces. Optional: place four pats of butter on mixture; spread each pat out equal distance from each other. Press butter down slightly into the mixture. 

Place in refrigerator covered with foil for 20 minutes or as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 375. Place pan in oven with foil still over top for 40 minutes. Cook another 20 minutes or until top is firm in the center. Cut into squares and use spatula to remove. Serve while still warm. Serves 2-3. Serve by itself or with butter, maple syrup and/or jam.

Note: To serve 4-6, double recipe ingredients and place in 9" x 12" pan.










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