I love a long weekend especially when I have special recipes on hand to make it easier and more fun. My priority is spending time with friends and family, not slaving in the kitchen. Warmer weather makes it easy to pop things on the grill without much effort saving lots of prep time and clean-up for lunch and dinner. Breakfast should be just as easy!
I’m sharing a family favorite today that is perfect when hosting a houseful or just wanting a Sunday brunch feel without the slaving to make it happen. A make ahead breakfast casserole is the ticket, especially when it can be made the night before. I originally shared a holiday version of this Overnight French Toast Casserole using eggnog. It makes breakfast festive and delicious with a special holiday flavor signature of eggnog. I wanted to change it up for the Memorial Day weekend with a little bit of red, white and blue!
Easily made either with gluten or gluten-free bread, the combination of the baguette, strawberry preserves, Neufchatel (light cream cheese) and an egg-milk mixture does not become soggy overnight as one might imagine. Instead it bakes up with a crunchy, toasted bread top covering a bread pudding underneath. Candidly my family is happy to nosh on this for any meal of snack when I make it.
Wishing you a relaxing long weekend with effortless meal prep!
This overnight breakfast casserole is a perfect solution when serving a crowd or time is running short. It cooks up beautifully with well toasted bread on top and a bread pudding texture underneath. It's creamy and fresh-flavored with berries and strawberry preserves. Easy to make gluten-free as well!
If you like this summery version do check out the holiday version using egg nog in the Boulder Locavore recipe index!
- 1 cup Strawberry Preserves
- 9 cups French bread baguette cut into 1 ½ inch cubes (approximately one 13 ounce baguette) I used 3 Udi’s gluten-free French Baguette
- 1-8 ounce package of Neufchatel Cheese or lower fat Cream Cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 large Eggs
- 2 cups Half and Half
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 cup fresh Raspberries (frozen and thawed berries may be used)
- 1 cup fresh Blueberries (frozen and thawed berries may be used)
- Lightly butter a 13x9 inch baking dish.
- Place the strawberry preserves in a bowl and microwave for a minute until they are fluid enough to drizzle; set aside.
- Spread half of the bread cubes in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Evenly distribute the Neufchatel or cream cheese cubes over the bread. Drizzle the warmed preserved evenly over the bread and Neufchatel.
- Distribute the remaining bread cubes over the top of the mixture.
- Whisk together the eggs, half and half, nutmeg and vanilla. Pour evenly over the casserole.
- Sprinkle the berries over the top of the casserole, followed by the brown sugar. Seal tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered an additional 10-15 minutes until the casserole sets at the bottom. Note: if needed place the foil loosely back onto the top of the casserole for the last 5 minutes so the bread does not over brown.
- Remove from oven allow to cool for a few minutes and serve. May be served as with traditional French toast with syrup if desired (it's great and sweet enough without it too!)