If I plan on a Sunday gathering, I like to make a casserole to minimize my time in the kitchen. There are many options for a breakfast casserole, but this is my favorite.
If your family and friends have some spare Sunday time, why not invite them over for little brunch party?
Today, we're going to make Foccacia Breakfast Casserole, Super Simple Fruit Salad, and a pitcher of Basil Bloody Mary's (still delicious without alcohol).
Foccacia Bread Recipe
*To save time in the morning, I like to bake my foccacia bread the day before. It doesn't take very long, so you're more than welcome to do this in the morning if you prefer - if you are doing so, allow an extra hour and a half for prep time.
If extra time is only in your dreams, feel free to purchase foccacia bread for this casserole*
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (set aside a bit for flouring our kneading area) [**you can substitute up to half with whole wheat flour - please see additional directions at the bottom of this page]
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (equivalent to 1 envelope)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh, chopped fine)
- 1 cup warm water (do not allow your water to exceed 110 degrees F or the yeast will die)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil (if you don't like the taste of olive oil, try extra light tasting)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Starting in a small, cold saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup of olive oil with the minced garlic, black pepper and all herbs. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes, and remove from heat just as the smell of garlic permeates the air (and before it browns in the pan), set aside.
- In a large, wide bowl, add the warm water and honey, stir to combine and pour in your yeast. Stir together a few more times, gently and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of your olive oil mixture to the yeast mix and gently stir until moistened and allow to rest another 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour with salt and stir until the dough comes together. Dust your kneading surface with flour and transfer your dough to it. Knead until smooth.
- Lightly oil the interior of another large bowl and transfer your dough to it. Cover with a warm, lightly moistened town and let the dough rise for about an hour in a warm place.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Then, coat a 9x13 baking sheet (with a lip) with up to 2 tablespoons of your olive oil mixture, place in the dough and using your knuckles or fingertips press the dough down gently ensuring the 'dimples' in the dough remain.
- Using a pastry brush, cover the top of the dough with the remaining olive oil mixture and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is a golden brown and remove to cool.
- Any ONE of the following: 1 package of cooked bacon, drained and blotted to remove excess grease (any type of bacon is fine); OR 1 package of cooked, drained, and crumbled breakfast sausage; OR 3-4 large sliced portobella caps lightly sauteed and cooled
- 6-7 large eggs (you may need more or less if using different sized eggs)
- A splash of milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup lightly cooked roasted red tomatoes (follow the same directions as with these peppers), remove excess liquid by straining these right before we add them to the casserole
- 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach, washed with stems removed
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- A drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 cups shredded cheese (if desired, certainly not necessary)
- Foccacia bread
- Slice your foccacia bread lengthwise, allowing more height on the bottom, and scoop out 3 'channels' into the bread bottom and a slight dome into the top - set aside (I make breadcrumbs with the removed interior, yummy!)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a skillet, drizzle some olive oil and add in the minced garlic. As the pan becomes warm and your garlic starts to scent, add a cup of your fresh spinach and, tossing a bit, cook on low heat for 1-3 minutes. Slowly add remaining spinach until evenly cooked and a gorgeous dark green. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk your eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. (You may spice your eggs additionally as you please, feel free to have a bit of fun here.)
- Grease a glass 9x13 baking dish. Place the bottom of the foccacia loaf into the pan and pour over the egg mixture.
- If you're adding cheese, add half over the top of the eggs now.
- Bake the bottom of the loaf until the eggs are just set. You can easily check by wiggling your dish once it's removed from the oven. If the eggs are still overly liquid at this point, it will be evident by gently shaking the pan back and forth. If you find your eggs are too runny at this time, return to the oven. (we'll be cooking them a bit longer, so think overly moist scrambled eggs here)
- After straining your tomatoes, toss them in a bowl with the cooked spinach.
- Taking care not to overlap much, lay your bacon, sausage, or mushrooms over the eggs and cover with a light layer of the spinach, tomato mixture. (if using cheese, sprinkle remaining over tomato mixture.
- Lay on the top of the bread and press down gently, return to oven and bake until tomato layer is warm and the top of the bread is crispy.
- 3 cups of fresh peaches, sliced
- 3 cups strawberries, halved
- 2 cups blueberries, whole
- 2 cups kiwi, sliced
- Additional mint leaves, left whole (optional)
- 3 tablespoons each of freshly squeezed lime juice (you can use from a bottle if needed), light brown sugar, honey, and fresh chopped mint leaves
- Make the sauce/glaze by mixing honey, lime, brown sugar, and chopped mint leaves in a bowl and lightly whisking to completely incorporate. Set mixture in fridge to chill slightly while you slice your fruit.
- Wash and chop fruits as indicated above.
- Once sauce is chilled slightly, combine with fruit in large bowl.
- Using individual dishes, place a heaping cupful of salad and garnish with fresh mint.