Friday, April 11, 2014

Savory sausage bread pudding muffins

Savory sausage bread pudding muffins: a fun riff on the traditional breakfast casserole, perfect for feeding a brunch crowd.

savory sausage bread pudding muffins

I love it when the stars seem to align -- that is, when my real life dovetails perfectly with my blogging life. How so? Katie of Healthy Seasonal Recipes asked me to take part in her spring entertaining giveaway on the very same day that my BFF sent me a recipe for a savory bread pudding that she thought I would like.


Spring entertaining made me think immediately of Easter brunch and, I swear, there is nothing better (or easier) for feeding a brunch crowd than a breakfast casserole. And it seemed to me that this savory bread pudding was just begging to be made into cute single-serving muffins.

(So, should we be even cuter? Should bread pudding muffins henceforth be known as "puffins"? No, I don't think so either.)

Therefore, you can see why I called it an alignment of the stars. 

In my quest to make my recipes more stealthily healthy, I cut way back on the whole-fat dairy in this bread pudding -- and you won't miss it: it's still rich and filling with lots of cheesy flavor. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the sausage and double up on the amount of bell pepper (a combination of red and green looks smashing).

 Here a couple of tips for making these bread pudding muffins:
  • Use the deepest muffin tin / cups you can find. I used a 6-place "giant" muffin tin (like this one) that makes muffins about 2-3 times the size of regular muffins (they're more meal-sized), and it accommodated the bread layers nicely.
  • If you only have a standard size muffin tin, cut slightly thinner bread slices or only include one layer in each cup.
  • If you want to make it really easy on yourself, bake the recipe as a casserole in an 8" x 11" or similarly-sized casserole dish.

savory sausage bread pudding muffins

Now, back to spring entertaining. As part of these themed posts, Katie has alos organized an awesome giveaway with such a great prize for all you foodie types. One winner will receive all of the following (see the photo collage in the giveaway widget):
  • From Vermont Creamery: A taste of Vermont Creamery Gift Package and In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen Cookbook
  • From JK Adams: A gorgeous set of Coupe Appetizer Plates (2 pieces)
  • From Calivirgin: One 8.45-ounce bottle of roasted garlic olive oil, one 8.45-ounce bottle of rosemary infused olive oil and one 8.45-ounce bottle balsamic vinegar
  • From Effie's Homemade: 10 packages of crackers (2 oat, 2 corn, 2 nut, 2 cocoa, 2 rye) -- I can't say enough good things about these crackers -- they are so good and totally addictive!

collage of spring entertaining giveaway participants

Enter to win this spring entertaining package in the widget following the bread pudding recipe. And be sure to check out all the spring entertaining recipes from the other amazingly talented bloggers participating in this giveaway:

Are you a fan of savory breakfast casseroles for feeding a crowd? Have a favorite? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to hear about it!

savory sausage bread pudding muffins

Savory Sausage Bread Pudding Muffins

(adapted from Bon Appetit)
As written, this recipe yields 6 "giant-sized" muffins or 12-14 regular-sized muffins. The recipe made also be made in an 8 x 11 casserole dish.

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) skim milk
1 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, thyme or combination of both
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 of one large red bell pepper, diced or thinly sliced
8 oz of a French baquette (about half of one baguette) or other firm bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 cup grated Fontina, Gruyere or mild cheddar cheese

Whisk together the first 8 ingredients in a large glass measuring cup (this makes it easier to divide later) or bowl.

Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned (about 5-6 minutes), stirring to crumble. Remove from skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the red pepper about 5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Combine the peppers and the sausage.

To assemble the muffins, place one slice of bread (trim to fit, if necessary) in the bottom of each cup. Divide half the egg mixture evenly among the cups (be sure to spoon up some of the onion, herbs and cheese as well). Sprinkle half the Fontina (or other) cheese evenly among the cups and top with half the sausage mixture. Repeat the layering one more time (you may need to press everything down with your hands a bit to get it to fit).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Let the muffins stand for about 20 minutes, pushing down on each occasionally to ensure that the bread absorbs as much egg mixture as possible. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the sausage on top begins to crisp and brown.

Remove from pan to cool slightly and serve.
-- print recipe --

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  1. I'm a sucker for the I would say pulled pork sandwiches for a big party on the back deck! This is a great giveaway!!

  2. Sounds perfect for a 4:31 Club meeting!

  3. I love this recipe Jules!! I am going through a serious breakfast casserole phase right now, and the sweet + savory notes this dish is hitting look divine! so happy to find your blog through the giveaway :)

    1. Enjoy -- I was happy to discover your blog, too! Thanks to Katie!!!

  4. Um, okay you had me at bread pudding, but adding all that hot sausage and green onions. I love love love these. We may be having them for breakfast this weekend. Thank you for being a part of this giveaway!

    1. Thanks for including me -- glad you're a bread pudding fan!

  5. Single serving savory bread pudding?! Ninj, you're a genius! These looks so good! I wish I was at your brunch this Easter! Looks like you bring your "A" game! Pinning!

  6. This sounds so outstanding!! I'm drooling!

  7. My most recent favorite thing is to make for parties is basic cupcakes, and mix pomegranate liqueur into both the batter *and* the buttercream frosting.

    My most second-recent favorite thing is to make small cheese plates with *really* good cheese, good crackers, marcona almonds, and homemade jam. Totally blows away the grocery store ready-to-go cheese tray.

    1. I give a big thumbs up to your cheese plates but an even bigger ZOMG to the pomegranate liqueur cupcake idea. LOVE IT!

    2. I just made the breakfast casserole this weekend. Skipped the bell pepper, as there are no real fans of it in our house, and I fried yellow onion pieces in olive oil a while before mixing them in instead of using green onion pieces. I can't remember what kinds of cheese we used - we found some small bits and pieces of things at New Seasons that sounded like they'd work, and of course, they did. The husband is a big fan, and the fact that there's something ready to go *right now* for breakfast that isn't cold cereal is pretty exciting to him too. :)

    3. Sounds like some great, easy modifications -- glad everyone is happy! And thanks for posting the feedback.

  8. Now you're singing my song, Julianne! Sausage? Bread pudding? I'll have two, please! LOVE this recipe! Great photos, too! Have a great weekend.