Sundays are always a favorite day around here. It’s the only day of the week Dan and I have off together. As such, it can end up getting cluttered with various obligations and chores.
Sometimes, though, it’s just quiet and lazy.
I can roll out of bed whenever I want, Zeppy at my heels, and make brunch.
Home fries are a favorite of mine. They’re easy, they remind me of diners (I LOVE diners), and they can use whatever is available in the fridge on a Sunday morning.
And thanks to my Thanksgiving adventures, I realized that me and stuffing/bread pudding are, in fact, friends.
I guess this is bread pudding. Or it’s stuffing.
It’s stale bread, baked with liquid and flavors. Soft and chewy on the bottom, crisp and chewy on top. It’s kind of a nice little blend of both, I guess.
Either way, it’s delicious.
I mean, who knew rehydrated bread could be so awesome.
I didn’t. ‘Til Thanksgiving. And this past Sunday.
This recipe also proves that you don’t have to feel so obligated to follow recipes strictly. I made sure there was enough liquid in the mixture to coat all the bread – probably the only actual requirement of this dish.
The eggy, chewy, gooey, bready, onioney, baconey bottom layer that resulted in my baking dish was totally worth the blunder.
And wonderful blunders like this are what make free-spirited cooking so fabulous (and tasty)!
So go crazy.
Use what’s in the fridge! If you try it – or you’ve done something similar – let me know in the comments. Feel free to link to something you’ve done – I love learning and sharing with others. 🙂
Also, I’m having trouble getting a button on here (me and coding need to learn a thing or two about each other), but if you guys use Facebook I would love it if you Liked Needles&Bread there. Then we can hang out in the social media world. And we can share the love: let me know if you have a Facebook page and I will definitely check it out. Social media is hard and if you’re starting out like I am, we can definitely help each other build some social proof.
RECIPE – Bread Pudding
Stale Loaf of Bread – Cut into smallish cubes
I had about 3/4 of a loaf of ciabatta kicking around. It just covered the bottom of my baking dish. I do apologize that this recipe really is extraordinarily loose, but trust your instincts and you should be OK. Use this as a guide and just try to get a feel for how everything should be. Like I said before, as long as you have enough liquid, you’ll be fine. Also, the next time I plan a recipe using stale bread, I’m going to cube it while it’s fresh and then let it go stale. Or, I need to invest in some really sharp knives. Just be careful if you’re cubing stale bread. Have a really sharp knife or have someone who’s really good with knives do the cutting for you.
3 Strips bacon – chopped
1/2 white onion – thinly sliced
You can use whatever you’d like here. Mushrooms. Ham. Leeks. Celery. Cheese. If you want to use things like carrots or hard squash, either grate them or, if using bigger cubes, you might have to parboil them first.
Fresh Parsley – chopped
Fresh Sage – chopped
My leftover Thanksgiving herbs!
2 Large Eggs
Probably for the amount of bread I had, I could have gotten away with just one egg, but you do end up with a lovely eggy layer at the bottom (if you don’t let the bread absorb as much, like I did).
1 Cup Whole Milk
Admittedly, I eyeballed this. It was about a cup, though. Maybe a little more. In Not That Martha’s recipe she used 1 cup for every 2 eggs.
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease your baking dish thoroughly with butter (mine was 11″x7″ – after you cube your bread, make sure it can all fit comfortably in whatever dish you’re using).
- Add bacon to cold frying pan and heat to medium-high.
- When bacon is sizzling and beginning to cook, add onions and a little bit of salt. Lower the heat to medium-low.
- Meanwhile, beat eggs together with milk and herbs.
- Toss the bread with the milk and egg mixture. Here’s what I should have done: while the onions are finishing cooking, let the bread absorb the liquid. Stir the mixture with a spatula occasionally to make sure everything is well coated.
- Cook the onions until they are golden.
- Mix the bacon and onions into the bread mixture.
- Spread the bread pudding into your baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for twenty minutes covered and twenty minutes uncovered – or until the top begins to brown and crisp.
- For the last five minutes, you could even sprinkle with a little bit of cheese and switch to the broiler to crisp up the top.
RECIPE – Home Fries
1 bag baby red potatoes – quartered
As you cut the potatoes, have your saucepan full of cold water nearby. Put the cut pieces into the water as you go along – this will prevent the potatoes from browning.
Use whatever your favorite potato is OR use leftover potatoes you had for dinner the night before. Home fries are an excellent way to use potatoes that are leftover from stews and pot roast.
Bacon Grease or Olive Oil
If you make bacon for breakfast, you should cook something in the grease. It’s just what you do.
1/2 white onion – diced
1 bell pepper – diced
This is another time when you can really use whatever you like that you have in your fridge. Traditionally, diner home fries are made with onions and peppers.
Garlic powder – To Taste
Paprika – To Taste
Fresh Parsley – To Taste
- Bring your pot of cold water and potatoes to a boil. Cook just until a fork can pierce the potato. You don’t want to overboil them or they will fall apart in the pan. Drain potatoes.
- Heat bacon grease or oil over medium heat in a skillet (not a non-stick pan)
- Toast your garlic powder and paprika for a minute or so.
- Add onions and peppers. Cook until onions begin to turn translucent.
- Raise heat so you are in between medium and medium-high – medium-high if you have a normal stove. My stove runs really hot.
- Add potatoes. Cook for about five minutes without stirring – this will develop a crust on the bottom.
- Stir and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
- Stir in fresh parsley and serve.
If you’re making other breakfast items like eggs or pancakes, heat your oven to the lowest setting. If you’ve used an oven-safe skillet, you can pop the whole pan in the oven to keep the potatoes warm while you finish cooking the rest of breakfast.