Have you ever made a bread pudding? It’s long been a way to use day-old bread in a casserole as a sweetened dessert. But I found a savory recipe for “Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding,” in the November 2009 issue of Bön Appetit, and was dazzled by this fantastic, hearty quiche. I halved the recipe, in order to make 3-4 servings. The assembly steps of this recipe require your concentration as a cook. Indeed, it’s rewardingly satisfying to compile this dish and put it in the oven.

Instead of using dry white wine in the egg mixture, I used a combination of fruit juice and dry vermouth. I sauteed my shallot for about 2 minutes; I added the kale and cooked for another 5 minutes. I baked the whole casserole for 20 minutes covered with foil, then uncovered for another 25 minutes. After all this, enjoy the distinct flavors of the sweet and toothsome squash, the strong kale, and the hearty bread. Also savor the egg/custard and the sharp cheese. There’s nothing haphazard about this bread pudding. Quite frankly, it might shock you and your guests.

And just to “overdo” my meal, I also made the “Barley Minestrone with Pesto,” from America’s Everyday Diabetes Cookbook, edited by Katherine Younker (recipe below).

Thankfully, this soup was not too heavy, yet was full of flavors, including a strong hit of basil. My young child liked this soup.


Barley Minestrone with Pesto
America’s Everyday Diabetes Cookbook
Yield: 8 servings

1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced unpeeled zucchini
1 cup diced unpeeled eggplant
1/2 cup diced carrots
4 3/4 cups vegetable stock
1 can (19 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 cup canned cooked white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. pesto
3 Tbsp. grated low-fat Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick saucepan sprayed with vegetable spray, cook onions and garlic over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until softened. Add zucchini, eggplant and carrots; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add stock, tomatoes (with juice), potatoes, kidney beans, barley, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, breaking tomatoes with back of a spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 45 minutes or until barley is tender.

Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon a dollop of pesto in center of each serving; garnish with Parmesan cheese.

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The ingredient list for this recipe enticed me: vegetables, canned tomatoes, canned beans, barley, pre-made pesto (find a good one and use it!). The minestrone is easy to pull together; I cooked it for 38 minutes. Do add salt and pepper -- I added 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Butternut Squash (1 lb.) = $1.58
Kale (8 oz.) = $2.02
Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese (4 oz.) = $2.95
Zucchini (1 1/2 cups) = .72¢
Eggplant (1 cup) = $1.41
Yukon Gold Potato (1 1/2 cups) = .81¢
Canned White Kidney Beans (1 cup) = .90¢

RECIPES: eggs and cheese turn day-old bread into a hearty custard; a thoughtful minestrone hits its targets
PREP TIMES: bread pudding may need at least 2 hours of your attention; minestrone needs at least an hour
TASTES: butternut squash and kale stand strong with sharp cheddar; a bonanza of vegetables, beans, and barley are celebrated in soup

Next time, I will cook “Mushroom-Farro Risotto,” from the December 2009 issue of Bön Appetit. Come back to my site on Wednesday, June 2, to see my results with this one.