i've talked here about my love of breakfast, especially for dinner. brunch is right up there close to the top of the list of things i enjoy stuffing in my face. i've also mentioned how my dear hubby is not a fan of breakfast for dinner. or breakfast in general. in fact, i have a feeling if he could eat fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy three times a day, he'd be a very happy man.
lucky for me, my kids share my affinity for breakfast for dinner. and it just so happens that my hubby has entered a few weeks of intense schooling. like he leaves at about 1145am, goes to school all day, then to work, and doesn't return home until 3 or 4am. it's a very long day for him, and at times it's trying for me because i am forced to deal with the little godzilla known as fish all by myself. but because he doesn't eat dinner with us, the kids and i are free to eat whatever we'd like. so of course that means breakfast.
when faced with the monumental task of making breakfast for dinner, i have a few simple recipes that are easy to whip up. i've made baked oatmeal a number of times, loaded with apples and raisins, and my kids all love it. i also have a few different french toast type casseroles that are easy to assemble and then pop in the oven. really, preparing things ahead and then baking them off is totally my style, though i have made pancakes in various flavors a time or two.
when they were younger, i used to make bacon to go along with our breakfast style treats, but, as crazy as it may seem, my kids are not fans anymore. in fact, lumpy has completely lost his love of bacon, and won't eat it even if you force him. i consider not including meat in our menu as marginally healthier, seeing that most breakfast meats, like bacon and sausage, are filled with fat. and less fat from meat mean more syrup without the guilt. according to my boys, of course.
so last night, my kids and i had breakfast for dinner. and i decided to keep it simple and make a french toast casserole. this time i decided to be brave and make one without using a recipe. i've made enough french toast in my day that i figured i was up to the challenge. i also kept in mind that i wasn't just making french toast, i was making a casserole, so instead of the standard mix of eggs and milk and sugar, i threw in some mashed overly ripe bananas. because of the bananas, i decided to add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, to mirror my favorite banana bread recipe. i also switched out the plain sugar for brown, because i figured the richer flavor would work better, though i didn't use much because i knew my kids would be covering it with syrup. i also used whole wheat bread instead of white, because i'm trying to get my kids to eat healthier. with a splash of vanilla, i mixed everything together and let it sit overnight in the fridge. before i baked it off the next day, i mixed up a crumbly topping of brown sugar, flour, butter, and spices.
the casserole baked up beautifully, and all the kids loved it. even though i added four bananas, their flavor wasn't as pronounced as i would have liked. the casserole wasn't overly sweet on its own, which is exactly how i intended it to be, because like i knew would happen, my boys slathered their pieces with syrup. and of course, the crumbly topping was my favorite part. all in all, it was a dinner success, and so easy i can definitely repeat it for a more appropriate breakfast or brunch dish. or maybe i'll add some peanut butter and chocolate chips next time, and call it bread pudding for dessert.