Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Savory Bread Pudding w/ Ham, Spinach and Cheese

So I baked some whole wheat oatmeal bread from a '70s cookbook that called for far too much yeast. What to do? Savory bread pudding, one of the original frugal foods back before mass-market bread. This is potentially a pantry dish too and substitutions abound.


  • 1 loaf stale bread, cut into 3/4" cubes (no, don't measure)
  • 6-8 eggs (start with 6)
  • 2 120z cans evaporated milk (have some reg. milk in the fridge just in case)
  • 10oz shredded cheese (I used Havarti, because it was on special at Aldi, plus a leftover hunk of Gruyere)
  • 1 lbs ham, diced 1/4" or so (you could also use cooked bacon, sausage, or no meat at all)
  • 2 boxes chopped frozen spinach
  • 3 leeks, white parts only, chopped and cleaned thoroughly (substitute yellow onions to save $)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Saute leeks in olive oil until golden, add garlic and cook 1 more minute
  • Cook spinach and drain of all water (I nuked it and then squeezed it in a clean kitchen towel)
  • In large bowl, combine the milk, eggs and seasoning and whisk thoroughly to combine
  • Add all the other ingredients except the bread and combine
  • Toss the bread in until all liquid is absorbed. Test a couple bread pieces. If not soaked through, whisk together some more eggs and milk from the fridge and add (sorry, bread varies too much to be exact)
  • Place in a large, oiled casserole dish. I used a 9x13 plus two individual-sized ones to take over to Sharon's place. The mixture should fill to about the 2" mark in whatever dish you use.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. It should rise a little and brown in spots on the top, but careful not to burn the bottom.

Frugal Factor: Bread, aprox. $2 worth of ingredients. Ham, $3.50 at Aldi, spinach $2, leeks, $3, cheese, $3.50 at Aldi, milk and eggs, $2 (est.). That's $16. I made 8 generous portions, so that's $2/portion. Still frugal. As much as I love them, the leeks really do some damage. And of course, truly leftover bread has already been bought or left at your house by party guests or something.

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