Apple, Bacon, and Leek Bread Pudding

This year I have finally been trying to whittle down my recipe collection. I have quite a few cookbooks and magazines recipes that I have saved that had yet to get tested to see if they are a family favorite.  So far we have found quite a few new go-to recipes.  One that I tried the other week I tinkered with quite a bit, changing ingredient proportions, swapping out cheese kinds, and omitting an ingredient I thought wouldn’t compliment the dish.  The end result was an Apple, Bacon, Leek Bread Pudding that is sure to be a part of our Thanksgiving gathering this year.

When you try this recipe (or the original found here on don’t forget to read all the instructions ahead of time, as it does require a rest step in the refrigerator to let the bread soak up the pudding base.

If you have any other favorite stuffing or bread pudding that can rival this Apple, Bacon, Leek Bread Pudding in terms of best holiday side dish I would love to hear about it!

Apple, Bacon, Leek Bread Pudding

  • 12 oz crusty country bread (or Udi’s whole grain sandwich bread if gluten free), ripped into ¾-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of bacon
  • 2 large leeks, white and tender green parts cut into half moon slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Place bread on a full baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minute or until crisp, stirring once. Set aside.  At the same time, place the bacon on a full backing sheet and bake until crisp.  Remove the bacon from the baking sheet and drain on a paper towel, reserve 3 tablespoons of the drippings. Crumble the bacon and add to a large bowl.

Add the reserved drippings to a large skillet. Heat the large skillet over medium-high heat and add the leeks.  Cook until just tender and then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes or until the apples begin to soften.  Remove from the heat and add to the bowl with the bacon and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, whipping cream, water, salt, and pepper until well mixed.  Add the bread chunks and the cheese to the leek mixture, then pour the liquid over the bread-leek mixture and stir to coat.  Pour into a greased 13 inch X 9 inch casserole dish.  Cover and chill for 2 1/2 hours to overnight. 

Remove from the refrigerator and let stand while the oven preheats to 400ºF.  Bake, covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20-30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 170ºF.  Serve.


Apple Cheddar Bread

Apple-Cheddar Bread

One of the cooking contests I am currently experimenting for is the Our Family Garden applesauce contest.  This contest has been so much fun, in part due to the enthusiasm of the host.  He has been giving contestants frequent insights into their products and business, making it a joy to share my cooking hobby with them. 

The other reason this contest has been so much fun is that the applesauce line is amazing.  Their products taste like your favorite, homemade batch – so much so that I had to be diligent to bake with it, rather than eat it right out of the jar.

One of my favorite recipe creations so far was an Apple-Cheddar Bread.  The bread is sweet, with a hint of savory, even with using the unsweetened applesauce. I loved the end result, as did my kids.  They kept requesting slices, which meant we polished off the loaf in under 24 hours.  I enjoyed eating it warm as an afternoon snack and as a breakfast treat.  I can’t wait to hear which way you prefer to eat this delightful Apple-Cheddar Bread!

Apple Cheddar Bread

Apple Cheddar Bread

2 cups flour (plus some for dusting pan)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened Our Family Garden applesauce
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded, sharp cheddar
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9-inch by 5 inch loaf pan and then dust with flour.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, basil, and salt; set aside.  In a separate large bowl mix together the applesauce, melted butter, and eggs and stir to mix evenly.  Gently stir in the flour mixture in small batches until it is all incorporated.  Gently fold in the cheddar, then pour into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool to desired temperature, then cut to serve. Can be served warm or cold.


Firecracker Coleslaw

As July fourth approaches, it usually means an abundance of picnics and barbecues to celebrate Independence Day. Most certainly the typical fare of pasta salad, potato salad, burgers and franks will be present, as will be . . . coleslaw! For my contribution to this weekend’s festivities, I’ve decided to bring my vibrant and irresistible coleslaw with a fiery kick.

I start with a bit of red cabbage, yellow pepper, and golden delicious apple . . .


Which get shredded into a kaleidoscope of slaw.



Mayonnaise and sriracha sauce provide a creamy/spicy coat and a dash of celery seed gives a bit of extra crunch.


That’s it! The bold flavor and color are sure to be a hit. Also, a quick side dish means more time to relax this holiday weekend, spend time with my family, and reflect on how thankful I am for a free country and the individuals who selflessly defend our freedom. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!



Firecracker Coleslaw

½ lb red cabbage
1 yellow pepper, seeds and stem removed
1 golden delicious apple, cored
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon celery seed
Shred the cabbage, yellow pepper, and apple and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, and celery seed, making sure all ingredients are evenly distributed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.