Breakfast Chez Nous: Bagel, Tomato and Cream Cheese Casserole

The Husband and I hosted the beaux-parents (that’s the in-laws, but in French it sounds less contractual and more like a relationship that was entered into lovingly) this weekend for a few days of eating, drinking, and Hoyas hoops watching.

We also exchanged Christmas gifts, and Hubs and I received Jawbone bracelets to track our movement – but that’s another story, since it doesn’t go too well with the theme of eating and drinking.  (There’s a larger metaphor to ponder.)

To get us (back) into the Christmas spirit, I had planned on making what the Husband’s family normally enjoys on Christmas morning – a bread/egg casserole.  And then I thought about trying to recreate a decades-plus tradition, and thought again.  Instead, I took a look at the long-suffering bagels in our freezer, my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and got to work recreating Deb Perelman’s New York Breakfast Casserole (with a few minor tweaks, obvi).

assembly: the most tedious part
assembly: the most tedious part

Bagel, Tomato, and Cream Cheese Breakfast Casserole

  • 3 large bagels, cut into cubes (bonus if they’re sesame, everything, or onion)
  • 1 bar chilled cream cheese, cut into small bits
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 and 1/3 cups milk or half & half
  • a good handful each of salt, pepper, crushed reds
  • optional: bacon, cooked and cut into small, crispy bits, capers for serving
puffed & golden brown
puffed & golden brown
  1. Prepare the casserole the night before you want to eat this.  Spread about a third of the bagel cubs in a 9×13 baking dish and place a small bit of cream cheese on the bagel cubes.  Mix in about a third of the onion and tomatoes.  Repeat again, adding more bagels, cream cheese, onion and tomatoes.  If adding bacon, do so now.
  2. Whisk eggs with the milk, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bagels/onions/tomatoes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next morning: preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the casserole, uncovered, for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until it has puffed, turned golden brown and cooked all the way through.  Let it rest a few minutes before serving.
  4. Serve with a grind of salt and black pepper, maybe some sriracha, and a side of fruit salad, to even it all out and make your Jawbone happy.  Note: this feeds 6-8 people comfortably.  If you have leftovers, it reheats beautifully over low heat in your oven or toaster.
fruit + cream cheese and bagels = net good-for-you, right?
fruit + cream cheese and bagels = net good-for-you, right?

The Verdict:

There was universal agreement around the breakfast table that this was really good – but would have benefited from the addition of bacon.  I loved the creamy puffiness of the cheese bits, combined with the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes.  The bagels, nice and crisp, also add a good crunch to the dish – not something you’d normally expect from a casserole.  A definite winner – with bacon!

Advertisement

The Thing(s) About Quiche

This is the thing about quiche.  (Yes, there is at least a thing or two about quiche.)  People are impressed by quiche.  People think you are a very fancy cook indeed, if you can make quiche. I am (obviously, to those of you who have been following along) not a fancy cook.  But I can make quiche – and so can you.  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say that another thing about quiche is that it is one of the easiest dinners you can make.  And it is endlessly variable, so you will never be bored by quiche.  Tonight, I make a few tweaks to a quiche I made a few weeks ago, with equally tasty results.

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

  • 1 store-bought pie crust, brought to room temperature
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bag broccoli florets
  • 1 cup or so light cream
  • 1 cup or so shredded cheddar
  • 4 eggs
  • salt, pepper & crushed red pepper (pretty much a staple around here)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Unroll the pie dough and press into a pie plate. Because it is a filled pie, no need to pre-bake or prick with a fork.
  3. Microwave (I know! So not fancy!) your broccoli florets in the bag for about 2-3 minutes.  Note: This will make your broccoli a bit more like the consistency of the rest of the quiche – if you like your broccoli crunchy, skip this step.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oil, and then cook the onions until translucent.  Toss in the broccoli; add some pepper and some crushed red pepper, if you’re into the heat.
  5. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and about a cup of light cream (again, you can pretty much use any dairy just to fluff up the eggs a bit).  Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the veggies mixture into the pie crust and spread evenly.  Pour the egg and cream mixture over the veggies; spread evenly.
  7. Top with a generous handful of shredded cheddar; make sure to press at least some of it into the mixture below.
  8. Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked all the way through. Feel happy you get to use your crust shield! (Goodness I love this thing.)
  9. Serve with a side salad.
i'm so fancy...
i’m so fancy…

The Verdict: YUM.

Winging It: Wild Mushroom & Shallot Quiche

After an amazing weekend with (both sets of) parents, I had a glorious day off for Columbus Day.  I had big plans: catching up on bills, cleaning the house, doing laundry, switching out the fall clothes, grocery shopping, hitting the gym and of course, cooking.  Instead, I watched all eight episodes of Outlander (thanks, Mom).  And then I did a few things on the list, namely, grocery shop and cook dinner.  What follows is the first time I think I’ve ever baked anything without at least loosely following a recipe.  And it was good!

Wild Mushroom & Shallot Quiche

  • 1 store-bought pie crust, brought to room temperature
  • olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cartons mushrooms, sliced (I used a mix of wild mushrooms and baby bellas)
  • 1 cup or so light cream
  • 1 cup or so shredded gruyere
  • 3 eggs
  • salt, pepper & of course, crushed red pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Unroll the pie dough and press into a pie plate (I used one with the bottom that slides up and out); discard excess dough.  Because it is a filled pie, no need to pre-bake or prick with a fork (more on that later).
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil, and then cook the onions and shallots down, until translucent.  Mix in the mushrooms and cook those down, as well.  Add some pepper and some crushed red pepper, if you’re into the heat.
  4. On the side, lightly beat together three eggs and about a cup of light cream (really, anything with at least a little bit of fat will do – whole milk, half and half, etc.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the cooked mushroom, shallot and onion mix into the pie crust and spread evenly.  Pour the egg and cream mixture over the mushrooms; spread evenly.
  6. Top with a generous handful of shredded gruyere; make sure to press at least some of it into the mixture below.
  7. Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked all the way through.  (Note: depending on how much crust is showing, you may want to place aluminum foil strips or a pie crust protector over the edges, so they do not burn.)
  8. Serve with a light salad!
look, ma, no recipe!
look, ma, no recipe!

The Verdict: I’m pretty pleased with myself, another go-to!  This was delicious, and the leftovers will keep for lunch.  And there are almost endless variations to this – swap in and out various vegetables, or add bacon or pancetta, truly an expansive range of possibilities.  The Husband, despite not liking eggs, also declared it tasty – though he did comment the crust at the bottom was a little soggy in places.  I wonder if this is because the mushrooms let out a bit of moisture as they cooked down further?  Would I have done well to pre-bake or prick the crust, even just a bit?  Welcome feedback from more experienced chefs!

Home Alone.

The original plan for this week had us eating out tonight with friends, so when we decide to reschedule, I haven’t planned on anything for tonight.  With the husband out to dinner with a prospective summer associate (guess the wining and dining days are back), I’m on my own.  After hitting the gym, I’m starving, but nothing in the fridge is speaking to me.  Time to mix it up.

Protein Mix Up

  • olive oil
  • leftover ground turkey from last night
  • spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • a couple of cubes of fontina

In  medium saute pan, I heat some olive oil and add in the ground turkey to heat it through.  After a couple of minutes, I crack in two eggs, and a big handful of spinach.  Cooking it all through, I add in the fontina at the very end, to let it melt down.  Comfort on a plate, with a side of Sriracha.

The Verdict
I’m always happy when I can live off “the frost of the land,” also known as the contents of my fridge.  I think the takeaway here is not necessarily to repeat this particular “recipe,” but to be unafraid to throw some random things together in a pot and see how it turns out.  In this case, not badly!