October 19, 2021

Diamond Dishes: Breakfast in bread makes brunch a breeze

You know why we love brunch dishes so much? Because they’re so versatile. They work for breakfast, brunch, lunch or breakfast-for-dinner. Also, most are easy to prepare and very inexpensive, making them perfect for stress-free entertaining or a lazy Sunday at home.

This breakfast-boat technique is especially drool worthy. If French toast and quiche had a love child it’d be a breakfast boat. You’re basically baking a quiche inside a loaf of bread.

Along with the salty, savory sausage, the eggs soak into the bread as it bakes, making a creamy custard while the bread crust gets all crispity-crunchity. It’s just crazy delicious. It smells amazing as it cooks and looks gorgeously rustic on a platter.

As with many ideas I share through Divas On a Dime, this is an adaptable technique rather than a single recipe. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your family’s taste, dietary requirements and, most importantly, your budget.

A couple of things to know before you make this recipe, the sizes and shapes of bread loaves vary greatly. This makes it difficult to offer exact quantities to fill your loaf or give an absolute baking time.

You can use any kind of unsliced loaf — French bread, whole wheat, or Italian bread — as long as the crust is, well, crusty. Day-old is preferable because it better absorbs the eggs, is less likely to leak and is super affordable. If you fill your loaf with the egg mixture and it looks skimpy, add a couple more eggs.

Sausage And Veggie Breakfast Boat

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce) loaf French bread

1 pound breakfast sausage

2 cups mixed vegetables, such as onion and bell peppers

8 eggs

1/4 cup half-and-half

1 cup shredded cheese — cheddar or your favorite

Procedure

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the whole bread loaf, upside down, on the sheet. Place it in the oven for 10 minutes to lightly toast the exterior of the bread, set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook and crumble the sausage until no longer pink. Next, add 2 cups of veggies to the sausage, and sauté until soft. I used 1/2 cup each of diced onion, red pepper, green pepper and sliced mushrooms.

Allow most of the liquid from the veggies to cook out, so the mixture isn’t wet. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Whisk together eggs and half-and-half until well-combined.

Using a serrated bread knife, horizontally slice the top inch from the loaf of bread. Scoop out most of the center of the bread. Keep at least an inch away from the sides to avoid damaging the outer crust. Make breadcrumbs with the bread you remove.

Spoon the sausage and veggie mixture into the bread, distributing evenly and top with the cheese. Slowly, pour the egg mixture over the sausage and let it percolate through toward the bottom.

Bake immediately for 25 to 45 minutes. It’s done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Here are some more ideas:

• Quiche Lorraine — Bacon, onion and Swiss cheese.

• Tex-Mex — Taco-seasoned hamburger, green chili peppers and pepper-jack cheese.

• Italian — Italian sausage, peppers, onion and mozzarella.

Tip: For variety, swap out different meats, vegetables and cheeses to vary the flavor. If you have about 4 cups of total “goodies,” proceed with the recipe as directed.

Patti Diamond

Patti Diamond

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal Meets Fabulous!” at www.divasonadime.com. © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.