One thing I like to do when I have down time at work (which is not often nowadays) is search for quick and easy recipes. Titles like ” 7 Fifteen Minute Breakfasts You Must Try,” “One-Pot Meals Sure to Make Your Mouth Water,” or “5 Minute Dessert Hacks Better Than the Originals” are almost guarenteed a click from my mouse. I currently have probably 15 to 20 recipes bookmarked that I promised myself I would try. This is one of them: spinach and feta bread pudding.
I think I originally found this recipe under a title like “10 Easy Dinners Under 30 Minutes.” And though this recipe definitely takes more than 30 minutes if you count for the refrigeration time, I’ll forgive Food and Wine this once.
I love bread pudding if only for the fact that it’s so versatile. Not only can you make it with various types of bread — in fact last year I made a pretty tasty banana bread pudding for my boss’s birthday — you can add various mix-ins. And even though I love to experiment with dessert bread pudding, I never thought about making a savory bread pudding. So when Hailey came to visit a few weeks ago, I was super excited to try this savory dish.
The star of this dish is the feta so remember to use liberally. When mixed in the bread pudding, feta melts into a nice creamy, yet tangy, glue for the bread and spinach. When sprinkled on top, the feta browns and adds a slightly crunchy texture. This dish could really be called feta with bread and greens, and get along just fine.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.
Spinach and Feta Bread Pudding (lightly adapted from Food and Wine)
3 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
8 Ounces of Bread (approximately 1/2 loaf)
5 Ounces of Spinach (approximately 2/3 of a cup)
1/2 Cup of Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Tsp. of Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp. of Lemon Zest
1 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice
6 Eggs, beaten
2 Cups of Whole Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Cut bread into cubes and spread over a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until dry. Let cool completely and then mix with the spinach and half the feta cheese. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add one egg at a time and beat until blended. Mix in the milk, salt and pepper. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the bread and spinach mixture, making sure to evenly soak the bread cubes. Transfer to a baking dish and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. (I refrigerated over night, but a couple hours should suffice). After you let the mixture sit, sprinkle the left over feta on top and bake for about 45 minutes, of until the bread pudding mixture starts to solidify. Bake for 5-10 more minutes afterwards, or until the feta crumbles start to brown.
Makes approximately 4-6 servings.
This past weekend was my friend Ana’s birthday. Cathy and I actually made her this beautiful vanilla cake with mascarpone buttercream icing and strawberries….but unfortunately we ran into a few disasters in the process and ended up not having enough time to take pictures. Guess we’ll have to make it again! What I did have time to take pictures of was the Mediterranean Orzo Salad I brought. This salad is my go-to potluck dish because 1) it’s a crowd pleaser 2) it’s super easy to make and 3) I love Mediterranean flavors.
Most people would make such a dish with feta, however despite loving all cheeses, feta certainly isn’t my favorite. I decided goat cheese is Mediterranean enough, and it really turned out well. Kalamata olives and goat cheese both have very strong flavors, but are well-complimented by the more subtle basil leaves and sundried tomatoes for a perfect flavor blast in every bite. It was definitely a hit at the party- so much so that those who had a few beverages were digging in with spoons by the end of the day. It was the perfect side dish for a perfect Los Angeles day at the pool. I heart summertime.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
1 Package Orzo Pasta (16 oz)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Jar of Kalamata Olives (10 oz)
1 Package Sun Dried Tomatoes (3 oz)
1/2 Red Onion
15 Large Basil Leaves
1 Package Crumbled Goat Cheese (3.5 Oz)
Chop the ingredients: Dry the kalamata olives with a paper towel and cut them in half. Chop red onion into small pieces. Rinse and chop basil leaves. Set all of these aside.
Cook the orzo pasta according to the directions on the packaging. As soon as the orzo is done, drain and mix in the olive oil to prevent orzo from sticking. Let cool until room temperature. Mix in olives, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, basil, and goat cheese. Serve chilled.