Challah Bread Stuffing

It was recently brought to my attention from my co-worker Dana that not everyone knows what Challah is.  Like, really?!  I realize I’m Jewish and it’s a Jewish kinda thing, but I just figured everyone knew what it was.  You know that heavenly French Toast at your favorite brunch spot?  Probably Challah.  See, you knew what it was all along and love it just like I do.  And Dana, prounounce it like “Holla” not “CH-ah-lah”.  You’re so cute for messing that one up 🙂

Just to set the record straight, Challah is a Jewish braided egg bread and is sooooo delicious.  You can pick one up at most bakeries or supermarkets.  Trader Joe’s variety is SO GOOD too.

Normally, I’d tell you to eat Challah with just some butter, or make French Toast with it… but today I’m going to teach you how to use Challah in STUFFING.  Can I get an Oy Vey!?  This is the dish Donny taught me how to make during Friendsgiving, and that I made to bring to my own family’s Thanksgiving this past week.

Cut up my Challah! Ready to rock & roll.

Donny’s Challah Bread Stuffing

Ingredients:

1 large Challah Bread  (cut into 1 inch cubes and made stale by leaving it out for a few days)*
2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
2 tbsp Fresh Sage, chopped fine
1 lb Loose Sage Sausage (or regular sausage)
1 small Onion, chopped 
2 large stalks of Celery, chopped 
3 cloves Garlic, chopped or crushed
1/2 cup Dried Currants & Dried Cranberries (or raisins)
Softened Butter, for the pan
Salt, Pepper
2 Large Eggs
1/2 cup of Milk (I used 2%)
1 quart of Chicken Stock

*Make sure you buy the Challah at least 2 days before you want to make the stuffing!  It needs to sit out and become stale.  

A Note from Donny:  You’re basically making a savory bread pudding souffle here.  Temperature is important here because of the use of eggs. Make sure that anything you add to eggs are cool enough that they won’t cook the eggs (until the final oven stage).

Directions:

1.  Put the stale cubed bread on a baking sheet.  Toss with the fresh herbs.  You want to dry them out in the oven so you’ll only cook them at 200 degrees.  The recipe calls for the bread to be toasted for only 15 minutes, but since mine was so fresh it took more like 30.  They shouldn’t be toasted or browned too much, just dried out.   Remove from the oven and  let the herby bread cubes cool to room temperature.

2.  Meanwhile, cook and chop the sausage over medium heat.  Once the sausage is cooked through and thoroughly chopped, drain fat and remove into a bowl to cool to room temp.  
3.  Using the same pan you cooked the sausage in, cook the onions, celery, and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  When soft, add to the sausage bowl and let it cool.
4.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and the milk. Add the (now cooled) herby bread cubes and mix. Then add the cooled sausage mixture.  Fold everything together with chicken stock, trying not to turn the bread into total mush.  It should be completely saturated with the stock.
5.  Grease a large baking pan or dish with butter and add the stuffing to it. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours. (If you are making this more in advance, you’ll have to add more stock because the stuffing will dry out.)
6.  Let the stuffing come to room temperature before you cook it at 350 for 30 minutes (I cooked mine for more like 40, but I think that’s because there was so much other stuff in the oven).  Serve warm, “with or without turkey”.

Chopping up some herbs

… and some veggies

 

Dried out Challah croutons & toasty herbs mixed into the egg and milk.

Cooking up and eating this stuffing twice in two weeks should prove to you just how amazing it is.  I have always been one of two people in my family to request a nice box of Stovetop for Thanksgiving, as any other kind of homemade stuffing was never as good.  This Challah Bread Stuffing recipe puts Stovetop to shame and will forever change my mind about this favorite Thanksgiving Side.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break and weekend!  I know I did 🙂

My thanksgiving plate! YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Thanksgiving cousin love ❤ Aidan and I

Dani is the cutest!

Mommom and I ❤ She’s the best!

 

Bread Pudding w/ Salted Caramel Sauce

For this Mother’s Day I wanted to make something really special for my Mommy!

The funny thing about this recipe is that it calls for Bourbon TWICE.  Let me rewind and tell you about Flambee.  One of my Mom’s famous stories is how as a kid, she ALWAYS wanted to order her dessert Flambee.  I guess they used to go somewhere that would do it tableside, and she would order it every time.  The story goes, that every time she would order her Flambee, she would take one bite and hate it.  She hated the taste of the liquor!  We always laugh that my grandparents would let her order it again- but they did and of course… she did.

While I was searching for recipes to make Mom this year, the one I fell for has Bourbon… twice.  OYE!  Well this one was for Mom, so after reading the recipe a few times, I figured it would be OK to leave out the Bourbon.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t missing anything!  It was awesome!

Bread Pudding w/ Salted Caramel Sauce

Recipe adapted from:  Cooking Light Jan 2012
Ingredients:
(Bread Pudding)
5 Cups Cubed French Bread (8oz, cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 Cup Evaporated Fat-Free Milk
3/4 Cup Skim Milk + 2 Tablespoons (to replace liquid from Bourbon)
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Large Eggs
(Sauce)
3/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Skim Milk (to replace Bourbon)
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
6 Tablespoons Half and Half (I used Fat Free), divided
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Directions:
1.  Bake the bread on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 350.  Make sure the bread is spread evenly on the sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes or until it’s just lightly toasted.
2.  In a bowl, combine evaporated milk and the rest of the 6 ingredients in the Bread Pudding section.  Stir with a whisk until well combined.  Add the toasted bread cubes and stir to coat.  Let stand for 20 minutes while you prepare the sauce.  Stir it around a few times or press on the bread to help it soak up the liquid.
3.  To prepare the sauce, combine the brown sugar, skim, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer for two minutes while stirring, or until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in FIVE of the Tablespoons of Half and Half.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it is reduced to about 1 Cup of liquid.  Lower the heat to warm.  Stir in remaining 1 Tablespoon Half and Half, vanilla, and salt.  Stir occasionally keeping warm.
4.  Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Spoon 1/2 the bread mixture into the pan, then drizzle with 3 Tablespoons of the sauce.  Spoon out the remaining bread mixture.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  You’ll know it’s done when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Serve with the warmed sauce.

This is the bread chunks after they were soaking for about 15 minutes.

The sauce was so sticky and sweet and yummy!

Here’s what it looked like in the loaf pan before putting into the oven

Perfect for Mommy!

I made an absolute mess with mine… but it tasted so good

This is my first bread pudding ever!  I’ve actually never even tasted one either.  I imagined it to be more… pudding-y?  This reminded me of a fancy French Toast.  It was so delicious!  I think the sauce could have been saltier to remind me of “salted caramel”.  It was amazing but… just missing that extra zing adding just a little more salt would give!

I also was so impressed at how easy this was to make.

1.  I hardly had to buy any of the ingredients- I had most of them already!

2.  The original recipe wasn’t that bad for you… and I replaced a few ingredients to make mine even better!  Okay, it’s still not GOOD for you but it’s not that high in calorie considering what you’re eating!

3.  I only dirtied like three things!  So easy!

The most important critic of the day, Mom (also my sister and Dave!) loved it.  I hope all of the Moms reading this had a wonderful Mother’s Day too!