Today I bring you one of my most favorite recipes of all time. I don’t want to oversell anything buuuuuuuut, this is so good it’ll make you wanna slap your mama (that’s a real expression, by the way). I only made this casserole this past Sunday but I subsequently ate it the following 2 days, which brings us to today. Today is Wednesday and we are officially out of challah breakfast casserole leftovers. I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to go about my days without this beautiful new friend in my life. Seriously. Help!
Sunday has become THE day for cooking now that I’m back at work full-time. After 3 months of maternity leave and 2 months of being back at work I think we’re finally into some sort of schedule and rhythm at home. And since we have a baby and a toddler, my experience tells me that now that we’ve found a rhythm to our days, it’ll all blow up in our faces momentarily. That’s how these things work, right? I think the hardest lesson I learned as a new parent when I had my first was that every. single. moment. is a transition. Once I accepted that the only constant in my life as a parent of a small child is that there is no constant, I found a bit of peace. I think it was already having been through that that allowed me to wholly and easily fall in love with my second. But that’s what experience does, right? It teaches us that the things we freaked out about and that caused us ample amounts of stress and anxiety didn’t really need the ‘panic’ stage. And if we’re reflective and mindful enough of our processes, we can use those tough lessons to navigate the next potential panic in a more positive way.
As it’s late February on this high school campus I work at, my seniors are heavy in the waiting period for college acceptance. Their anxieties are so palpable and so valid and yet, no matter how much my co-counselor and I try to explain to them that this period of anxiety and “living in the gray” will eventually pass, they’re just not buying it. They are just SO in ‘it’ right now. So instead, we help them lean into the process and try our best to help guide them through it with empathy. Man, as much as it’s hard to be a parent of two small kids, I am SO glad to be out of high school. Yikes.
- 1 medium sweet potato (2 cups cubed)
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 2 cups broccoli (frozen or fresh will do)
- 8 ounces stale challah (7 to 8 thick slices)
- 8 ounces sliced or shredded fontina, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Peel and cut the sweet potato into 1/4-inch cubes. Toss them with the onion, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan, and roast until the sweet potatoes are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Add chopped broccoli about 10 minutes into cooking so they get a bit of the roast.
- Once done, place the broccoli, sweet potatoes and onions in a bowl. Next, add the cubed challah to the bowl, along with 4 ounces of cheese and chives. Toss the mixture until well combined.
- Lightly grease a 9x9-inch (or 2 1/2 quart) baking dish. Scoop the bread mixture into the pan, evenly distributing the broccoli and sweet potatoes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy whipping cream, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour over the bread mixture, pressing down on the bread to submerge it completely in the egg mixture. Cover with foil and let sit for at least 20 minutes so that bread can have time to absorb the eggs, milk and cream.
- Change oven temperature to 350˚F. Bake the covered casserole for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces of cheese, and continue to bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes until the casserole has puffed and the cheese is browning. Top with an extra sprinkle of chives before serving.