Fourth of July French Toast Casserole

I'm joining Kelly from Kelly's Korner in Show-Us-Your-Life - Breakfast.  Stop by and check out all the delicious breakfast recipes.

 I'm showing the breakfast I made for Fourth of July.  It's actually a fruit/cream cheese french toast casserole that you can adjust to your tastes.  It's so yummy.

               I don't know if you can tell, but my intention was to make the casserole look like a flag. :)

                                              Fourth of July French Toast Casserole

1 loaf of Egg Bread (Challah), you can substitute any bread but I think this one does well.
8 ounces of cream cheese  (sometimes I use 12 ounces, depending on how much cream cheese you like)
1 small jar of blueberry preserves
1 small jar of strawberry preserves
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk (I usually add a little more milk)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
5 to 6 tablespoons of melted butter
Cinnamon (about 1/2 teaspoon but you can add as little or as much as you like)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.  Layer half of bread (roughly cube the bread) in baking dish.  In a separate bowls mix the cream cheese and 2/3 of the jar of preserves.  I usually only put one fruit flavor in my casserole but since I was trying to make it into a flag, I used 1/3 of the cream cheese with the blueberry preserves and 2/3 of cream cheese with strawberry preserves.  Drop teaspoonfuls of the cream cheese/preserve mixture over the first layer of bread.  Cover with remaining bread.  Drop a few spoonfuls of the plain preserves over the top layer of bread.

Mix together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, melted butter and cinnamon until well blended.  Pour over bread and lightly press with spatual to help the bread get completely soaked with the mixture.  Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.   Serves up to 10 people.

This recipe is very adaptable.  You can use most any flavor of fruit preserves or you can even substitute fruit instead of the preserves.  If you choose to substitute with fruit, make sure you add about 1/3 cup of sugar to the cream cheese and use about 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit.   When I originally found this recipe, it was suggested that you top with maple syrup.  I personally find that way to sweet but some members of my family like it that way.

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