Orange & Date Wife Saver Casserole for #SundaySupper!

Today, for Sunday Supper, we are bringing you fabulous yet Captivating Casserole recipes! What is a casserole to you? Is it a lasagna? Is it chock full of potatoes? Vegetables? Our family loves a pasta casserole. Casseroles are timeless, dependable and every family tends to have at least one casserole recipe that they turn to for an “easy” and comforting dinner. We don’t often make a breakfast casserole – actually, we rarely do, generally we make savory casseroles for dinner so this was a fun “break from the mold” kind of recipe for us to work on and really enjoyed!

In a recent run of French Fridays with Dorie, we made a salad that included oranges, dates, thinly sliced red onion and olives. Does that sound weird or what? It was weirdly amazing and such an eye-opening combination! We really enjoyed the salty brine of the green olive stuffed with pimentos with a bit of orange, sliver of date and bit of onion. What a truly eye-opening combination! Since we made that little salad, I have been plotting ways to work with those flavors again and I thought a breakfast casserole would really hit the mark! I could combine mandarin orange and date in a tasty spin on a baked french toast casserole since these flavors work so wonderfully together!

One of the things I’ve been doing lately is working through some old recipes from the 1940s-1950s and there’s kind of one constant recipe variation that crops up, and its a breakfast casserole! They – whoever they are, call it a “Wife Saver” because this is a casserole that is prepared the night before then baked the following morning; these are also very simple and frugal dishes. Thus saving the wife of labor and time (and money!), perfect for a busy mom like me! Most recipes have you working with stale bread or something similar and I thought croissants would make a lovely breading to build this recipe on and I can tell you that this didn’t disappoint!

Basically I took a package of freshly baked croissants and tore each one into smaller, irregular bits then tossed them with mandarin slices and bits of date, mixed up the custard, poured it in, let it sit overnight and baked it off for breakfast.

It was perfect! The croissants really soaked up the custard well and the slivers of date shone through in each bite. The only thing missing was something salty which could be easily remedied by crumbling fresh bacon on top of each portion. A little whipped cream would make for an elegant touch to this dish but a drizzle of maple syrup was all it really needed! And it’s a perfect recipe for little hands to help out with since all of the preparation work is right in the wheelhouse for toddlers! Win-win! Wife Saver, indeed!

                                                                        serves approximately 6-8 people

  • 6 -8 Large, Plain Croissants
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 14.5 oz can of Mandarin Oranges, drained
  • 4 Dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • Maple Syrup for serving

First, grease a 9X13 baking pan. Tear the croissants into bite-sized pieces, having irregular sizes is completely fine, the goal is smaller, manageable pieces. Toss these into the baking pan as you tear them up. The custard soaks up the croissants, so I like to add an extra croissant or two to really fill out the pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the top of the croissants.

Pit and chop the dates, leave them on the cutting board while you drain the mandarin oranges. Once the mandarin orange slices are drained, scatter them on top of the torn croissants. Add half of the date pieces to the casserole then using a spoon or your hands, toss the croissants, oranges, dates and custard mixture until the fruit is thoroughly mixed in and all the pieces of croissant are moistened with the custard mixture.

For a pretty presentation, use a spoon to bring a few of the orange slices up to the top of the casserole, then sprinkle the remaining date pieces over the top of the casserole then lightly sprinkle the casserole with a touch more cinnamon.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until the top has turned a lovely golden brown color.

Slice and serve (with a dollop of whipped cream if you like) with maple syrup while hot!


Be sure to have a gander at all these fabulous Captivating Casserole recipes that the Sunday Supper team has brought to the table today, you are sure to find a family favorite (with a little spin!) or a new and interesting “must-make” casserole to try – there is something for everyone!

Have you ever made a casserole for a sick friend, family member or neighbor? Or perhaps someone who just had a baby? What is a qualifies as a casserole?

Lasagna? Something studded with pasta? Chock full of veggies and cheese? Gently stewed meat full of flavor and topped with potatoes? Smothered by toasted marshmallows?

To begin to find the answer for yourself, check out all of these recipes later today at  our Twitter chat at 7pm ET to talk about all things Casserole! It’s sure to be a captivating conversation! 

Captivating Breakfast Casseroles

Appetizing Casserole Sides

Main Event Casseroles

Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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