I think I found the skeleton of this recipe almost 14 years ago in the once free Kraft “Food & Family” magazine. I was about 25, working full time, newly married and needed some meal ideas that were cheap and easy. I had never had anything like this before and from the first time I made it – I was hooked!
Over the years, as I have tweaked into something quite different, but every time I start assembling this dish I can still picture the page at the back of the magazine that started my love for making tasty, easy meals -my way. I always serve it Christmas morning, but am always looking for another reason to whip it up.
There are several things that make this recipe so great. First, you can use any type of bread you prefer, sweet or savory, dense or fluffy, fresh or stale.
Looking for a gluten-free brunch option? Don’t run away at the site of bread cubes!
These Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Cups are crazy good and super easy ((and you’ll never miss the gluten — I actually forgot to tag them as GF when writing the recipe, they are that good!))
Second, you can use any type of meat, faux meat or even a tasty mix of sautéed veggies. I used bacon & cooked breakfast sausage — both of which I cooked previously and froze for my stockpile. Cooking meats ahead in bulk and freezing really helps me get a tasty meal together in short order. ((which I have a lot of — short order that is!!))
Let’s pause and talk about bacon for a second. For a twist to your normal bacon recipe, consider making a bulk batch of oven roasted candied bacon. Oven roasting bacon is my favorite way to cook raw bacon ((and by favorite, I mean LEAST messy and MOST crispy)). By adding brown sugar & cracked black pepper, you’ve created something that could be sold on street corners. This easy, and addictive recipe is HERE.
Third, any cheese you love will work great in this casserole. This time, I used a combination of cream cheese & two types of sharp cheddar. IT.WAS.SO.GOOD!!
Last, I love adding canned chopped green chilies. They are an unexpected flavor in a breakfast casserole & work really well. Finely chopped bell pepper or jalapeño would work nicely too depending on your heat preferences.
So, here is my version breakfast casserole. I just love it! But in all honesty, I never make it exactly the same twice. I most recently made this to be served Christmas morning. I partially assembled it on Christmas Eve and put the finishing touches on it and baked it up in the midst of wrapping paper fragments and delighted yelps.
I make this throughout the year (not just Christmas) – as a matter of fact, this needs to go on the menu for my week! I love this recipe because I always have a variation of all of these ingredients on hand: 2 day-old croissants, cinnamon bread, bagels, crusty sourdough, pepper jack, mozzarella, gouda etc… they will all work gloriously.
As always, this is how my dish looks when my herd is finished with it! A sure sign of deliciousness. If you know me at all, you know my peeps don’t eat yucky food just to be nice. So this HAS to be good!!
This is definitely one of those recipes that conjure up many years of meal memories with my family – from being a new wife, to a new momma — to a momma of big hairy kids who roll their eyes at me. I hope it becomes a food memory for your family too!
And don’t forget about dessert – “Mom’s BEST Banana Pudding” is sure to please your dinner guests!
Just a few simple ingredients and 2 surprises make this banana pudding the last recipe you’ll ever need!
- 1 loaf of brioche, cubed
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. milk (skim is fine)*
- 9 eggs
- 1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies (optional)
- 2 c. + 1 c. (reserved) shredded sharp white cheddar
- 1 c. freshly grated parm (or an additional cup of cheddar - or another type of your favorite cheese)
- 4 oz light cream cheese, cubed ((optional))
- 10 oz. browned breakfast sausage ((optional))
- 5 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked till crisp and chopped ((optional))
- Salt & fresh ground pepper about 1/2 t each (or 1 t of McCormick's Montreal Steakhouse blend)
- Spray a 9"x13" extra deep baking dish and place about 1/2 to 2/3 of the bread cubes in the dish. Next, crack eggs into a largish mixing bowl, add cream, milk, s&p and whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes making sure to reserve about 1&1/2 c. for later.
- Spread green chilies on top of bread. Sprinkle 2 c. of shredded cheese evenly. Lightly press the bread down to aid in absorption of the egg mixture. Top with cream cheese, breakfast sausage and bacon if desired. Cover and refrigerate over night along with remaining egg mixture and cheeses. Bag up the extra bread for use in the morning.**
- Preheat oven to 375°. Remove bread pudding from fridge and top with remaining bread, pour reserved egg mixture over the bread and sprinkle remaining cheeses evenly over the top. Sprinkle a bit more s & p.
- Bake on middle rack for 45 - 55 minutes - or until the center is firm, cover the bread pudding with foil about halfway through the cooking time and then remove for the last 5 minutes or so. If you see the bread in top is getting dark at any point in the cooking process, loosely cover the dish with a foil tent until cooking is complete.
- Serves 12
- **If you want to make & serve it all at the same time ((say for dinner)), just skip the over night soaking step. Instead, preheat the oven, place a little more than half of the bread in the bottom of the dish. Pour 2/3 of the egg mixture over the bread and allow it to soak into the bread for 10 minutes or so. Add, cheeses, meats and chiles. Top with remaining bread cubes, cheese and a dash of s & p. Follow cooking instructions as detailed above.
Oh, and if you need the perfect fancy brunch drink, try this recipe for Sweet Almond Tea! It will be a hit for sure.
gorgeous serving pieces like this vintage Royal Bayreuth cake plate
and many kitchen utility tools.
All these lovelies and many more are for sale in my little shop, new treasures are added often – so bookmark the link and visit me often.