Category Archives: Bread

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

As I’ve mentioned before, Sam and I do a lot of running.  Currently, we’re training for the Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon, which is held in DC in March!  Are any of you running it?  I would love to see some bloggers and readers out there!

For me, the hardest part about training for distance races (halfs, fulls, etc) is providing your body with enough nutrition and energy.  Specifically, the day you do your long run- ours tend to be Saturdays.  What can you eat after a run during which you’ve burned over 1,000 calories?  A burger definitely hits the spot, but I some mornings all I want are eggs.

A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing my Google Reader and I saw the perfect post-long run breakfast dish.  It was from Liza, of (a)Musing Foodie- a fellow blogger I met at the Eat, Write, Retreat Food Blog Conference.  The best part was, it’s a dish you put together the night before, and just pop it into the oven in the morning.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Even if you don’t have a long run planned for this Saturday, this is a perfect dish for your brunch guests.  Easy, delicious and very versatile!

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from: (a)Musing Foodie

Liza used a baguette, I did not have one on hand- so I used leftover whole-wheat bread from Trader Joe’s that had flaxseeds and sunflowers seeds in it.  Feel free to use what you have in your bread box!  Additionally, use any type of milk product for the 2 1/2 cups of liquid (regular milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)- I ran out of the soy milk so I substituted the rest with the half ‘n half.

2 cups of bread, cubed
6 slices of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 lb Polish sausage, cut into small pieces
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
10 large eggs
2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup half ‘n half
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Spray a 9×13” baking dish with cooking spray. Then spread the bread cubes on the bottom of the baking dish.

Heat up a large skillet, place the bacon on it and heat it up until crispy on both sides.  Set aside on a paper towel, but leave the bacon grease in the pan.  Then add in the onion, let it cook until translucent over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and jalapeño, cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Next, add in the sausage and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until it begins to brown.  Add all of these ingredients into a large bowl.

Once the bacon has cooled off, chop it up and add it to the bowl.  Then mix in cheese, spinach, and green onions.  Once the meats and vegetables are mixed, spread this out over the bread cubes in the baking dish.

Next, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, soy milk, half and half, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  Then pour this mixture over the layers in the casserole dish, and gently press down so the liquid drips down.

Cover the casserole, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

Once you’re ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Bake the casserole covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes.  Then uncover it, and bake it for another 15 minutes when it starts to bubble.

Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Garlicky Focaccia Bread

Although in the past I have been intimidated and scared of yeast,  I think I am completely over it.  After a couple of trials and some winning recipes (whole wheat pizza, wheat bread, peasant bread, whole wheat pitas, mostly whole wheat bread, and dinner rolls) I’m definitely feeling confident.  So don’t be afraid and make some bread from scratch today!

Focaccia is not my go-to bread, but when I saw a recipe posted by A Couple Cooks, it looked so delicious!  I had to make it right away.  This dough was great, and I can’t wait to make different variations- adding eggplant, onions, or topping it off with some meat.

I ended up cutting it up into smaller pieces, this way we could eat some with a salad, or with morning eggs.  Otherwise, use this when making a sandwich or when you just need a snack.

I hope the heat wave has ended for everyone so you all can turn on your ovens this week to make this.  Definitely something great- and I’d love to hear what other variations are out there that everyone enjoys!

Garlicky Focaccia Bread
Adapted from: A Couple Cooks

2 cups warm water
2 tsp dry yeast
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil + more for bowl and drizzling
1 tsp honey
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (mixture of thyme and oregano)
1 tbsp sea salt

In a stand mixer bowl mix together the warm water and yeast.  Allow it to stand for a couple of at least 10 minutes.  Then add in 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, olive oil and honey.  Using a dough hook, mix the ingredients together.  On a low speed, mix the dough for about 10 minutes.  Every couple of minutes add in the remaining all-purpose flour (1/2 cup).  At the end it should turn into a ball.

Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl.  Cover with a towel, and leave it for at least 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Spray a 9×13′ baking dish with cooking oil.  Preheat the oven to 475ºF.

Punch down the dough into the bowl, and knead it for another 2-3 minutes.  Then spread the dough into the baking dish.  Allow it to rise for another 30 minutes.

Once the dough is ready, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over the top of the bread.  Then sprinkle the garlic, herbs and sea salt on top.  With a finger, make small indentations into the dough- about 1/2 inch thick and about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Peasant Bread

I love fresh, warm bread.  The kind that is crusty on the outside, and soft inside.  Pair that up with some fresh bruschetta, or butter- and I have dinner.  Or it can be a perfect addition to a salad or soup dinner.

In the past couple of months I have conquered my fear of yeast.  If you’d like proof then check out the Mostly-Whole Wheat Bread, Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza, and Whole Wheat Pitas.  Last week’s Food Matters Project was bruschetta, and I needed a vehicle for all that deliciousness.  So I attempted bread.  What did I learn?  I never want to buy bread from the store again!

It looks gorgeous, and I am so proud of it!  If I have succeeded, all of you can make it.  Fortunately, this recipe does not require an overnight rising period- that is way too long to wait (although that might be due to my lack of planning).  This is perfect to throw together right before you leave for work (or the night before), let the yeast work its magic and all you have to do is pop it in the oven when you get home.  Fresh bread for dinner!

Peasant Bread
Adapted from: Hide the Cheese

This recipe makes 2 larger loaves.  I made a loaf the first day, and covered and refrigerated the other half.  It should last about a week in the fridge.  Take it out of the fridge as you’re heating up the oven, and continue with the baking instructions below.  The original recipe used 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, and 4 1/2 of all-purpose.  I did not have the whole-wheat flour, so I improvised.

1 tbsp + 2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp + 2 tsp salt
3 cups warm water
1 tbsp honey
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the yeast, salt, water and honey in a large bowl.  Stir with a spoon until the yeast and honey dissolve completely.  Then add the flour, continue mixing until it is fully incorporated with the wet ingredients.

(optional) Coat a large bowl with olive oil.  If you don’t have an additional large bowl, just move parts of the dough to add some of the olive oil under it.  This is not necessary, but does make it easier to take out the dough from the bowl after it has risen.

Cover the dough with a dish towel and allow it rest for at least 2 hours (although the longer the better).

After the dough has risen, take half of it out (the other half can be stored in the fridge) onto a floured surface.  Shape it into a ball, or any shape you’d like.

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  As you turn on the oven, put the dutch oven (or corningware) into the oven at the same time.  When the oven reaches 450ºF, take out the dutch oven and place the dough inside.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Then cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the top is a light brown.

Take out the bread from the oven, and allow it to cool off on a wire rack.  Enjoy it fresh!

The Food Matters Project #12: Mostly Whole Wheat Bread

How many of us have a number of cookbooks on their shelves any never tried any of the recipes (or very few of them)?  If you are this person, you should do something similar to The Food Matters Project (with this cookbook or any other).  Each week one of the participants chooses a recipe, and we all try it.  It’s a great idea to cook your way through a cookbook- with only 1 recipe a week!

Whenever I go through a magazine or cookbook, I tend to notice only some recipes.  Since we have began The Food Matters Project, it has been great trying out new dishes which we probably would never have gotten to.

Thanks to Melissa of The Faux Martha, I now tried a new bread recipe.  She chose 2 bread recipes from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matter’s Cookbook: Real Whole Wheat Bread and Mostly Whole Wheat Baguettes.

In the kitchen I tend to stay away from yeast, Sam is the one that makes the pizza dough.  Although I have used yeast a little bit in the past (double-rise wheat bread, whole-wheat pitas and yeast dinner rolls), I’m still not very confident in my abilities.

This bread turned out great, and gave me a little bit more confidence.  I wish I had played around with it a bit more, but I was playing it on the safe side the first time around.

So if you’re worried or scared of yeast, definitely try this bread!  After the first bite this will be a “must-bake” item every single week!

What can you eat with this bread?  Here are some ideas: Triple Green Chicken Salad, Lox, and Tuna & Veggie Sandwich.

Mostly Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 542)

This recipe was going to be a baguette, but when I was shaping the dough I think it wanted to be a bread loaf instead.  If you’d like additional flavor or texture, top it off with some poppy or sesame seeds.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for shaping
2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (equivalent to the little packet)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp olive oil

In a stand mixer combine the: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar and yeast.  Start the mixer, using a dough hook.  Then, about a 1/4 cup at a time, add the water into the mixture.  Continue to mix the dough until it forms into a ball.  You might need to add some more water- if so, add it 1 tbsp at a time.

Pour olive oil into a large bowl, swish it around so it is covered where the dough will touch (this will prevent it from sticking).  Put the dough into the bowl, and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap.  Allow it to rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature, it should double in size.

Lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on.  Knead the dough a few times (about 3 minutes).  Roll the dough out into 2 baguettes or 1 loaf of bread.

Heat the oven to 500ºF.  If you’ll be baking the bread on a sheet pan, spray it with non-stick spray, then set the loaf on the pan.  Put the bread into the oven for 10 minutes.  Then turn down the heat (while the bread is in the oven) to 400ºF.  Bake it at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until the inside of the bread is 210ºF).

*If you are topping the bread with seeds, brush the loaf with a little water and then sprinkle on the poppy or sesame seeds (about 1/4 cup) prior to baking.

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken

I apologize for the silence on the blog the last couple of days, but we’ve had a bit of an internet problem.  Yesterday we not only fixed the internet, but also our dishwasher.  Hard work, but someone has to do it, right?  The joys of home ownership!

Whenever there are many items on my to-do list, I try to make dishes that don’t require too much time, or work.  If I can use up extras from the fridge, that’s a double-bonus.

A couple of weeks ago I made pitas, but had lots of leftover dough.  I divided it into separate balls, and kept it in the freezer.  And when I had the right ingredients for some tabbouleh- I made a tasty, and fast, lunch!

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

Even if you don’t have any pitas, tabbouleh is great as a lunch salad- very refreshing and light.  I had leftover chicken, which I shredded and added to the salad, but feel free to omit it.  A great addition is some feta cheese sprinkled over the top!

1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
3/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine the bulgur and the boiling water in a large bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Then fluff the bulgur with a fork, drain any extra water.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, mix well.