Mushroom and Leek Savory Bread Pudding

A few years ago, I had some random chunks of bread that were taking up space in my freezer. I had company coming over and it occurred to me to turn that leftover bread in to a casserole or bread pudding of sorts. I am not a big fan of sweet bread puddings, so the savory version seemed like the right course of action.

The bread pudding was a huge hit at that brunch.

Savory Bread Pudding

 

Fast forward a few years. I recently found myself planning Shavuot meals. On Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy meals. I decided to turn back to that bread pudding I made a few years ago. We still love it and I decided to share it here.

Enjoy!

 

Mushroom and Leek Savory Bread Pudding
 
Author:
Recipe type: Casserole

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 leeks, cleaned and sliced in to thin rounds
  • 15 oz. baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups half & half
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar and jack shredded cheese blend
  • additional salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups cubed pumpernickel bread, crusts removed
  • 3 cups cubed italian bread, crusts removed
  • olive oil spray

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat up the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan.
  3. Add in the onions, garlic and leeks and sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook for another few minutes.
  5. Stir in the fresh herbs, salt and pepper and cook another two minutes.
  6. Cook until all of the veggies have softened. Remove from heat and set mixture aside.
  7. While the veggies cook, you can quickly prep the bread cubes and get to work on those.
  8. Spray a large baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  9. Place the bread cubes on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread cubes start to brown.
  10. Remove from oven and set aside.
  11. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, broth, half and half, additional spices, half of the parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheese.
  12. Add the lightly toasted bread cubes to the egg mixture.
  13. Stir the vegetable mixture into the egg mixture.
  14. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
  15. Pour the mixture in to a 9″x13″ pan.
  16. Sprinkle over the remaining cheeses.
  17. Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes or until pudding is set and cheese starts to bubble and brown.
  18. Remove from oven and let sit a bit before serving.
  19. Enjoy!

 

Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

One of my favorite meals is breakfast, but I rarely give it the honor it deserves. I find it hard to devote time for it. The perfect breakfast for me would be later in the morning,  but leisurely. It would probably be a brunch. I don’t have the patience to go beyond the coffee too early in the morning. I love eggs though, and I love other typical breakfast food.

Spinach-Breakfast-Casserole-confident-cook

I had an abundance of spinach in my house. So, I decided to turn some of it in to breakfast food. I came up with this breakfast casserole. I am so happy with the way it turned out. I had to share it with you.


Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Ingredients:

oil spray
1 bag pre-cooked hash browns (I like to use Alexia or Simply Potatoes)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced (cremini, white button combo)
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1.5 cups shredded swiss or gruyere cheese, or a combo of both
2 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
8  extra-large eggs
4 tbsp. half & half
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with the oil spray.

Empty the bag of the hashbrown potatoes in to the pan.

Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until you see the edges begin to brown.

When done, remove from oven.

Layer the onions and garlic, then the mushrooms and then the spinach over the potatoes.

Layer the shredded cheese over the veggie mixture.

Whisk together the eggs with the half & half and the rest of the spices. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven at 375 for around 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are set.

Remove from oven and serve.

Enjoy!

Spinach-casserole-confident-cook
Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • oil spray
  • 1 bag pre-cooked hash browns (I like to use Alexia or Simply Potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 oz. mushrooms, sliced (cremini, white button combo)
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 cups shredded swiss or gruyere cheese, or a combo of both
  • 2 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 4 tbsp. half & half
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with the oil spray.
  3. Empty the bag of the hashbrown potatoes in to the pan. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until you see the edges begin to brown. When done, remove from oven.
  4. Layer the onions and garlic, then the mushrooms and then the spinach over the potatoes. Layer the shredded cheese over the veggie mixture.
  5. Whisk together the eggs with the half & half and the rest of the spices.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies.
  7. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.
  8. Bake in the oven at 375 for around 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are set.
  9. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Sauce

I love pasta. Who doesn’t?

The best part about pasta is that my kids tend to love it–no matter what I put on it. Top it with veggies and some Parmesan cheese and they are happy campers.

Another reason I love pasta is because of all of the wonderful shapes it comes in. Every shape has a it’s benefits – based on how it sticks or holds whatever toppings you pair it with. One of my favorite pasta shapes is Orecchiette. The name of the pasta comes from it’s shape – the ear. Though my daughter thinks it resembles a hat more than an ear. We won’t go there. I love the shape and it’s consistency. I also love the way it grabs on to the toppings.

This recent pasta dinner was super easy to make – you just have to have a little bit of patience with the onions. I love onions, especially caramelized onions. They cook by themselves and require very little effort – my kind of meal. With the addition of some meaty baby bella mushrooms, the dish is complete.




Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients:


1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped thyme
1/4 cup half & half
1/4 parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Cook to
al dente, reserving about 3/4 cup of the cook water. Strain the pasta. Do not rinse it. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, work on the onions. 

Slice the onions in to thin strips. Heat up a pan with olive oil and butter. Add the onions. Let them cook on medium with a lid for about 20 minutes. You will see them begin to caramelize. 


After 20 minutes, add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Let it cook for a bit longer. 


After another 7 minutes or so, add in the half & half and the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir.  Add in the pasta water and the pasta. Stir everything up.


Serve and enjoy!

IMG_1695

Gnocchi with Basil Cream Sauce

I came across some gnocchi the other day, and I decided that I must have them…I just needed to make them for a dinner. I have eaten gnocchi maybe twice in my life. When made the right way, it is really good. When made wrong, it can me a heavy, lumpy, pasty mess. Gnocchi are essentially potato/wheat dumplings. They are a heavy meal, so you don’t need much to fill you up. I am determined to make my own one day. I fondly remember one Saturday afternoon with my dad in Minneapolis, watching Lidia Bastianich and her family making gnocchi. They make it look so simple. Lovely Lidia had her miniscule grandchildren working hard on the gnocchi. I wonder if I can get that sort of child labor into my kitchen. They can even pronounce gnocchi properly!

Anyhow, I decided to make the gnocchi with a basil cream sauce. I chose the basil cream sauce mainly because I scored some beautiful fresh basil at the store when I was picking up the gnocchi. The spouse is not as fond as pesto as I am…so basil cream sauce is some sort of middle ground. One day I will share the great pesto story.

Basil Cream Sauce
Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
salt
pepper
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1/4 cup grated parmesean
1/2 cup baby peas
1/3 cup pesto (I whipped some up in the food processor for this, you could use store-bought)

In a sauce pan, melt the butter. Add in the olive oil. Add in the garlic and onion and saute a few minutes. Add in some salt and pepper. Stir. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the milk and cream. Keep whisking. Add in the parmsesean. Do not stop whisking! Add in the pesto and the peas. Stir, stir, stir. Turn the heat to low. Let’s move on to the dumplings.

Gnocchi cooks up very quick. Do not cook until you are ready to serve. For a pound of gnocchi, heat up 4 quarts of salted water until boiling. Throw the gnocchi into the hot water. When the gnocchi floats to the top, it means they are done. Drain the gnocchi.

Plate up your dinner. Garnish with some pine nuts, basil leaves, and a good healthy dose of parmesean cheese.

Enjoy!
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