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Easy Make-Ahead Dinner: Savory Bread Pudding

I’ve become a master of the make-ahead brunch. It’s the only way I can entertain on weekend mornings. My strata recipe is a go-to brunch classic that can be made almost entirely the night before. It’s a lifesaver that I just realized can be easily adapted for dinner, too.

Hello, savory bread pudding. Of course! What family can resists comforting cheesy, eggy, bready pudding for dinner? And what home cook doesn’t want a healthy, easy dinner ready to be popped into the oven after a long day at the office or with the kids?

Just like the classic dessert, savory bread pudding is easily adaptable and a great way to reduce food waste. After all, it transforms stale bread into a fluffy, creamy entree! You can use any combination of ingredients that you want or have on hand, from mushrooms to leftover chicken, squash to sausage. It’s so forgiving that you can also experiment with the amount of cheese and type of bread that gives you the tastiest result.

Because savory bread pudding is already chock full of my family’s favorite ingredients—eggs, cheese and bread—I like to keep it vegetarian. I even find that it makes less popular vegetables, like kale, more appealing. But do with it what you like. The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is saute your add-in’s, mix them with eggs that have been whisked with milk and cheese, soak (5 minutes to overnight) and bake.

Just like that, dinner’s on!

Savory Bread Pudding with Kale
serves 4-6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
3/4 c chicken or veggie broth
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste, plus 1/4 tsp more salt
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 c milk (keep this light with 2%)
1 1/4 c shredded gruyere
4 eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp mustard powder
8 c loosely packed day old french bread cut into 1″ cubes
butter for greasing baking pan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute your choice of mix-in ingredients. If using kale: heat olive oil over medium flame. Saute onion until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add kale and toss until kale is well coated with oil and begins to wilt. Add broth, cover and cook until kale softens and liquid cooks off, about 3-4 minutes. Uncover, and stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper and vinegar. Allow vinegar to cook off before removing from heat.

2. In the meantime, whisk together milk, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 c shredded cheese, eggs, egg whites and mustard.

3. Combine kale and egg mixture. Pour over bread. Allow to soak for 5 minutes.

4. Grease a 2 quart baking dish with butter and, when it’s done soaking, pour the bread mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on top. Bake right away, for about 45 minutes until set and golden brown on top, or cover and store in the fridge overnight.

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