Okay, first things first…
I love breakfast. I think it’s my favorite meal. I love the feeling of waking up hungry and then eating something delicious and satisfying, first thing. It’s the perfect start to my day. I also love that it’s socially acceptable to eat either sweet or savory foods. Obviously we can eat pancakes for dinner, but there aren’t really any overtly sweet “dinner” or “lunch” foods in the world’s normal status quo.
I like having options.
I came up with the recipe for this savory French Toast bake because I had the world’s most random combination of leftovers in my fridge, and I needed to do something about it. (I very much dislike wasting food.) After reading about an everything bagel casserole on the ImmaEATthat blog, I was inspired to make something similar for myself. I’m so glad I did.
But back to the leftovers.
I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen lately (Hello, quarantine) and I was craving a cool/creamy pie like key lime. My favorite recipe is made from 1 can of sweetened condensed milk + 5 egg yolks + 1/2 cup fresh lime juice. You bake it at 375 F for 15 minutes, and it makes the most delicious key lime pie I’ve ever tasted in my life. It’s not my recipe, so I won’t claim credit, but it’s literally better than every piece of key lime pie from a restaurant that I’ve tried, too.
While I was making the pie, I was inspired to make a lemon version by using the lemon balm my husband is growing in our garden. Sadly, the lemony flavor didn’t come through as much as I’d liked, but it was still really tasty. The end result was two delicious pies and 10 leftover egg whites.
Back in my disordered eating days, I never ate egg yolks. If I ever ate eggs at all, it was egg whites only. Being totally honest, eating egg whites tasted awful…but I felt safer eating only egg whites because they were fat-free and low-calorie, and I could pretend that I was eating something semi-normal (even though I think it was apparent to everyone around me that I had major food issues going on.) So, not only was key lime pie out of the question because of the egg yolks + condensed milk, and everything else delicious, but eating scrambled eggs, or going out to brunch was off-limits too. I’m so glad that isn’t how I eat anymore, and that all foods fit into my life with freedom.
In addition to the leftover egg whites, I had about half a cup of leftover whipping cream from the pie garnishes, and some stir fried peppers in the fridge from dinner a few days prior. Plus, our remaining 1/3 loaf of sourdough was getting stale, the spinach was getting wilty, and the bag of shredded cheese was rapidly approaching the end of its “use within 7 days of opening” term. So, I did something I would have never, ever done in my disordered eating days, and added the cream and cheese to the egg whites + all the other leftovers, baked it into a casserole and called it brunch.
It was the right choice.
Savory French Toast Bake
- 6 eggs (or 10 egg whites)
- 1/2 cup cream or milk
- 4 cups bread, cubed
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup baby tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- a few handfuls of spinach
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Assemble bread cubes in baking dish, and set aside.
- Sautee the bell pepper and onion in the butter over medium heat until soft. Add in tomatoes and spinach, and stir until spinach is wilted. Spread vegetable mixture over bread cubes in the baking dish.
- Whisk together the egg whites, cream and salt. Stir in the cheese, and pour over the bread/egg mixture in the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until eggs are set and top is golden brown.
- Serve hot!