Easter Redux

After traveling to visit relatives in Chicago last weekend for Easter, I felt guilty for ditching Mom. So I promised her I would re-do the holiday for her this weekend. I had grand plans: Easter egg coloring, egg hunt, a HoneyBaked Ham….

In short, it didn’t exactly happen the way I had planned. First, we bagged the ham. The closest store is about half an hour away, and we didn’t have any other errands to run in that direction, so it got dropped.

So I planned a brunch. I found this recipe, and ran to the store to pick up all the ingredients.

Orange-Pecan French Toast Casserole

Making this casserole saves you the trouble of standing over a griddle flipping individual slices of French toast. Assemble the dish the night before your gathering, and pop it in the oven the next morning. Be sure to serve each slice bottom-side up so the pecan mixture is on top.

Yield 12 servings

* 1  cup  packed brown sugar
* 1/3  cup  butter, melted
* 2  tablespoons  light-colored corn syrup
* Cooking spray
* 1/3  cup  chopped pecans
* 1  teaspoon  grated orange rind
* 1  cup  fresh orange juice
* 1/2  cup  fat-free milk
* 3  tablespoons  granulated sugar
* 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
* 3  large egg whites
* 2  large eggs
* 12  (1-inch-thick) slices French bread (about 1 pound)


Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup; pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over sugar mixture.

Combine rind and next 7 ingredients (rind through eggs); stir with a whisk. Arrange bread slices over pecans in dish; pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Carefully turn bread slices over to absorb excess egg mixture. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

I got home, unloaded and put away the groceries, and fixed dinner. Then we went out to the backyard for our first-ever backyard bonfire. (To make a long story short, we had a stump we wanted to burn, plus a lot of garden waste…there ya have it). We stayed outside about two hours, made more s’mores than I can count, and stayed around the fire until the kids started to fade. Then we went back in the house to do showers and bedtime.

After all that, I was way too tired to start the casserole. I went to bed.

In the morning, I got up and started perusing the internet for French toast recipes. This is the one I settled on:

Orange Cinnamon French Toast

6 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
8 slices thick bread or 12 slices thin bread (I used Texas toast)
1 cup warm maple syrup

In medium bowl whisk eggs, milk, syrup, juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and orange rind. Soak bread in liquid one slice at a time, for about one minute on each side.

In a medium skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter over moderate heat. Add bread and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until nice and brown. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

The flavor was great, though it came out a bit tough for my taste (either from warming in the oven too long, or my inattentiveness at the griddle). Little Sis loved it, but Big Sis wasn’t into it (once she heard the word “orange” in relation to the French toast). I sent some leftovers home with mom, then cut the remaining slices into sticks and froze them for breakfasts this week.

Also on the table: scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey sausage, grapefruit, coffee for the grown-ups, hot chocolate for the kids, and a fresh fruit centerpiece. Not bad for having no idea what to serve when I woke up that morning!

I got eggs boiled for coloring, but we ran out of time to color them. I didn’t even have time to THINK about an egg hunt.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. We’ve even started serving it for dinner every once in a while. Favorites here are scrambled eggs and pancakes (if you add chocolate chips, my kids will love you forever). Do you have any great breakfast ideas or recipes?


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to http://about.me/kathleendheuer.
This entry was posted in Family, Recipes, Sandwich Generation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Easter Redux

  1. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Thanks for the recipes. Unfortunately, I have none to return the favor. I’m typically grabbing a breakfast bar or something else in the morning. I love breakfast for dinner, too. I’m grateful for the Internet and the abundance of recipes. My husband loves to try out new things and I reap the reward of his hard work.

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