Fall Dinner: Broccoli and Bacon Bread Pudding

September 18, 2014
Bread puddings have gone unnoticed for far too long. You know how satisfying a slice of toasted bread with cheese tastes? How about an entire pan of it, all covered with cheese and bits of yummy bacon and broccoli? You can always add other veggies too, like roasted leftover Brussels sprouts, or carrots and onions..the options are limitless. 
It's an easy way to make a complete meal in a pan, and is handy to do when you are busy. The recipe is very simple. It's just bread and eggs, with your choice of added ingredients. Then, the pan is baked until all the egg is cooked through and the pudding rises up and turns golden brown. 
I have mixed up this dish and scooped the mixture into muffin tins. Then, freeze the little bread puddings for reheating on a busy morning. 
You could also make a sweet bread pudding by substituting fruit for the vegetables. Get creative and add some yogurt and sunflower seeds or dried fruit to the recipe instead of the vegetables. I like to use the same flavors that I do when making up French toast, and then adding a can of drained peaches. The combination of the two flavors is outstanding. It makes a wonderful breakfast with a drizzle of maple syrup. 
Try making my version of this comfort food.
Savory Bacon and Broccoli Bread Pudding
1 Tbsp Olive oil
8 cups of your favorite bread, cubed
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head broccoli-cut into bite sized pieces
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat oil over medium heat and add garlic/red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic starts to soften, but not brown
Add broccoli to the pan and stir to coat. We like it slightly browned, but cook to your preference and remove from heat.
Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper until smooth. 
Add broccoli, bread, 1/2 cup Parmesan- mix well
Pour into 9X13 cake pan.
Top with bacon and remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan. 
Bake for  45 minutes until browned and puffed up. A knife inserted in the center comes away clean. 

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