I do not have a sweet tooth. I know – weird, right?! My tooth errs more on the side of savory, or sweet followed immediately by savory, or sweet combined with savory. This is most especially true when it comes to breakfast – enter Sweet & Savory French Toast Casserole.
Several years ago, when my boy was but a babe, my sister in-law introduced me to my first French toast casserole. She made it special for me, using a butter substitute and almond milk. At the time I was on a dairy and soy protein free diet because my boy was milk soy protein intolerant. I had changed my diet in order to continue nursing him. And I have to tell you, that French toast casserole was absolutely the best thing I’d eaten in a long while. Because let’s face it – that diet is no fun when you LOVE cheese. And sour cream. And ranch.
After I was back to eating dairy again, I made the casserole with milk and real butter and always served it with a side of sausage or bacon. You know – to even out the sweet with a side of savory. Then one day it hit me – why not cut out the middle man and add the savory right to the sweet?
So, that’s exactly what I did. Now, the sausage and bacon are the
icing on the cake topping on the casserole. The result is pretty dang delicious if I do say so myself and definitely satisfies my sweet + savory tooth!
Don’t forget the rules of food safety! Here is the short list:
- Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Never thaw meat on the counter – instead thaw in the refrigerator, microwave or cool water bath.
- Always wash cutting boards and plates after having been in contact with raw meat.
- Always cook to appropriate internal temperatures. Safe internal temperatures vary based on cut. Hamburger must reach a safe and savory 160 degrees, while steak is safe at 140 degrees.
- Olive oil
- 8 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup half 'n' half
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 loaf homemade squash bread, or french bread, cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 pound bacon, cut into small chunks
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 brown sugar
- 1/2 cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
- Add the eggs, milk, half 'n' half, granulated sugar, and vanilla to a mixing bowl and whisk together until combined.
- Place the bread cubes evenly in the prepared baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, making sure to pour a little over all of the bread cubes. Cover with foil and let set in the refrigerator for at least two hours and up to over night.
- Meanwhile, prep the toppings. That is if you're doing the two hour refrigerator rest. If you are waiting over night, prep the toppings in the morning before you bake. 😉
- Place the ground beef in a bowl and sprinkle with the remaining ground beef sausage ingredients. Mix it all up until completely combined. I use my hands to get the best mix - so don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the ground beef sausage and cook until browned, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain the sausage, and set aside in a bowl.
- Heat the same skillet (I don't like to do dishes) over medium high heat. Once hot, add the bacon and cook to desired crispiness. Remove the bacon from the skillet and cool on a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter to a small mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Take the baking pan out of the fridge and top with the ground beef sausage, bacon, and sweet crumble mixture. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree preheated oven for 40-55 minutes, or until the casserole is set and the top is perfectly golden brown.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately, with or without maple syrup. Enjoy!