While making this recipe the other day I was reminded that winter is essentially here and found myself scrambling to snap photos of the final product with the last little sliver of dusk light. I’m not 100% happy with the photos I managed to get, but I am over the moon with how the recipe turned out!
It’s loaded up with eggs, whole grain bread, butternut squash, apples, fresh sage, and crumbled goat cheese. This dish is full of great flavor on it’s own, but also pairs great with a little maple syrup on top, making it like a hearty and healthy French toast bake. I also kept this recipe vegetarian, but I think next time I’ll throw in some country breakfast sausage because hey.. why not?
My recipe also makes enough for TWO casserole dishes and re-heats well so you can bake it on the weekends and enjoy one fresh and then reheat the other for breakfast throughout the week. Or if you have a massive amount of family coming over during the holidays, this will serve up to 12 and can be prepped the night before!
(makes 10 to 12 servings)
2 to 2 1/2lb butternut squash
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 Tbs unsalted butter (for greasing pans)
10 slices of whole grain brain, cut into cubes
1/2 cup milk
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and chopped
4oz goat cheese, crumbled
4 fresh leaves of sage, finely chopped
Maple syrup (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with foil.
Peel the butternut squash and then dice into bite sized cubes. I find it easiest to cut it into inch thick disks, cut the disks into 3 or 4 strips, then finally into cubes (like cutting up potatoes). Don’t forget to scrape out the seeds and stringy insides in the bottom portion of the squash.
Add squash to prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper over squash cubes with one hand while tossing and mixing with the other until cubes are evenly coated. Place in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from oven and allow squash to cool while prepping the other ingredients.
Butter two 9″ by 7″ casserole dishes and set aside. And when I say butter them.. I mean go all Paul Deen on them and use a boatload of butter on the sides and bottom. I used an olive oil spray and my breakfast bake stuck to the bottom like crazy, so trust me.. USE A LOT OF BUTTER.
Adjust oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Divide bread cubes between the two casserole dishes. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Pour evenly over bread cubes and then toss to mix until bread has absorbed almost all of the egg.
Add apple chunks, butternut squash cubes, chopped sage, and goat cheese crumbles.
Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until goat cheese is lightly browned. You can also cover and just put the breakfast bake in the refrigerator overnight and bake in the morning following the same heating instructions.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Then dish it up, top with a bit of maple syrup if you like, and serve!