If that title doesn’t make you think “Monday Night Football,” I don’t know what will. Maybe some food porn?
I’ve basically just combined a ton of my favorite fall and football foods into one giant dish of ooey-gooey, cheese-y deliciousness and called it Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Apples, Cheddar and Sausage. And no, I’m not sorry for bastardizing the classic bread pudding dish (I’ve done it once, I’ll do it again.) When something’s as sinfully good as this, you need to go all out and never look back. Which is exactly what I did.
But before I get to what will quickly become your new fall go-to recipe, tell me, how was your weekend? Did you do anything “fall-like” for the first weekend of the season?
There was no way we were celebrating anything fall-like here in Santa Barbara. It was HOTT. Yes, hot with two t’s. Seriously, every year I get so pumped up for the official start of this amazing season (thanks, Internet, and all of my other virtual friends in much cooler parts of the country) and every year I forget that we won’t really get our first rain or crisper evenings until ohhhh, about the end of October. So obviously I need to live vicariously through all of you and hear what you’ve been up to. Please, enlighten me!
I spent my weekend doing what any person living in 80 to 90 degree weather would do (naturally.) I spent some time at the beach, played some volleyball, headed to an outdoor birthday party, quenched my thirst with beer, and hunkered down in our air-conditioned duplex watching football. How typical, right?
What’s NOT typical is this Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Apples, Cheddar and Sausage. Chunks of salty pretzel bread are toasted up nice and golden and tossed with all of the amazing fall football flavors – we all know cheddar and sausage can’t be beat in this department – but I couldn’t resist throwing in those chunks of apple to really make this a touchdown dish for the season (you see what I did there?)
Well, actually, apparently I could resist the apples at one point, because I completely forgot to add them in the first time I made this. The dish turned out alright, but I wanted to refine it just a tad more. The second time around, I made sure to throw in said apples, and I also switched from ground Italian sausage to sliced Italian chicken sausage. I’m so glad I did.
The slices of sausage stand out so much better than the ground, and the apples (tossed with a nice coating of cayenne and cinnamon) add the perfect touch of sweet and slightly spicy flavor to an otherwise savory (and very rich) dish. These pretzel bread cubes have a fine affinity for absorbing the egg mixture we use to bind everything together, and although tasty, it’s nice to have all of the other flavors popping up in there to cut through the decadence.
So, what do you think? Have I talked you into making this for an easy Monday Night Football meal yet? If not, read on.
We start with our pretzel bread and toast the cubes in a bath of golden garlic-infused butter.
Next, we get a nice saute going for the apples, adding in onion, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne to really pump up the flavor.
We take our toasty pretzel cubes and apple saute and toss them together with sliced, cooked Italian chicken sausage, eggs and some almond milk.
And the cheese! We can’t forget the cheese. We stir some into the mix and reserve even more to sprinkle generously over the top. There’s no such thing as too much cheese.
Finally, we pour our mixture into a small, shallow baking dish (I used a 9-inch ceramic pie plate) and bake for about 30 minutes. Voila! We have Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage ready to devour in under an hour.
So NOW are you convinced? I mean, really, all you need is a green salad to make this a completely acceptable meal. I think it’s the absolutely perfect way to get through another Monday.
- 5 cups cubed pretzel bread
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ of a sweet onion diced
- 1 Fuji apple diced
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 5 Italian chicken sausages cooked and sliced
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 cups plus ½ cup grated cheddar cheese divided
- Parsley to garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a small baking dish (either a 9-inch ceramic pie plate or an 8x8-inch glass baking dish) with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Melt ½ cup of butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add pretzel bread cubes. Toss in butter and toast until all sides are golden-brown. Transfer from saute pan to a large mixing bowl.
- Place the same large saute pan over medium heat and melt additional tablespoon of butter. Add onions and saute for a few minutes, until beginning to get fragrant and turn translucent. Add apples, cinnamon, cayenne and nutmeg. Saute for an additional 5-10 minutes, until apples and onions are cooked through.
- Add apple mixture to pretzel cubes in large mixing bowl. Add sausage, eggs, almond milk and 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.
- Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese over top. Bake in 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.
- Cool slightly and then serve.
Beverage Pairing Notes: Since this is a classic football dish, I highly recommend enjoying a classic, ice-cold lager with it!
My kind of dinner!