Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole

Good thing it’s Friday, because I’ve got an incredibly Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole to rock your weekend!

A hearty dish of Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is delicious, easy to assemble and sure to feed a crowd at brunch!

That’s right, I’ve taken just about everything that goes into your favorite bagel breakfast – we’re talking cream cheese, chives, smoked salmon, the works – and turned it into a tasty casserole that will feed a crowd. I mean, what’s not to like about that?

To be honest, I’ve been wanting to make something along the lines of an Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole for a looooong time, but have been struggling to find just the right excuse to make it – or enough people to feed it to. So when my Santa Barbara Foodie Gals decided it was time for our first picnic of the warm weather season, and a brunch picnic at that, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to test this recipe out on a critical yet incredibly appreciative crowd.

One little piece of this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is all you need at brunch to start your day off on the right foot!

We opted to hold our season opener of a picnic at the Santa Barbara Mission Rose Garden, which is probably one of the most beautiful open, public spaces you’ve ever seen. It’s our favorite spot for picnics, with a large, open grassy area framed by a lush rose garden and our own historic mission, which still functions as a church today. If you’re ever in the Santa Barbara area and looking for some scenic spots in addition to your eating and drinking, this Rose Garden (along with the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, home to the Sunken Gardens) are not to be missed.

We had quite the spread at our SB Foodie Gals get-together, and my Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole was a huge hit (although not the only star of the show as quiche, mimosas and donuts were also in attendance.) Needless to say, I got the approval on the recipe so I’m super excited to share it with you today!

There's quite a bit of deliciousness in a hearty slice of this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole!

You know I’m the hugest fan of balanced living and whole foods eating whenever possible, so you should also know I’m not messing around when I call this dish indulgent. Gluten, dairy, cheese, CARBS – we’ve got it all in this bad boy, hence my emphasis on enjoying it only once in a while, in great company. It’s a dish that can serve a crowd, so it would be the perfect addition to an otherwise balanced brunch menu. In fact, a fresh fruit salad and crudité platter would be the perfect accompaniments!

I roughly based this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole recipe on my savory bread puddings, however I increased the quantities of certain things to account for the crazy absorption rate of the bagels (and to make it a bit more egg-y and “breakfast-like.”)

When it comes to bagels, feel free to use whatever flavor you prefer to pair with your lox. I used a combo of onion and pretzel, but I also think everything bagels, rye, salt or even plain would be just fab here.

A boatload of bagels form the base of this tasty smoked salmon breakfast casserole, perfect to serve a crowd for brunch!

Also, I baked the casserole pretty much right after I assembled it, but I’m venturing to guess that prepping it a little bit in advance (maybe even the night before?) might be a VERY smart idea. After all, after everything is mixed together and loaded in the casserole dish, your Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is pretty much “set it and forget it,” and who doesn’t want that when you’re trying to entertain a crowd?

This Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is the perfect make-ahead dish to serve at your next brunch!

Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr

This make-ahead casserole is loaded with bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese and all your other favorite bagel toppings, and is perfect to serve a crowd!

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 9 bagels (your choice of flavor), cubed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 additional cup for topping
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus 1 additional tablespoon for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour melted butter into a 15-quart baking dish and turn to coat dish. Set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (except the 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of chives for topping.)

  3. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and sprinkle 1 cup grated Parmesan over top.

  4. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until eggs are fairly set (they may continue to cook a bit after removing the casserole from the oven so don’t fret if they’re still a tiny bit runny.)

  5. Let cool slightly and sprinkle on additional tablespoon of chopped fresh chives before serving.

From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider

We’re not going to miss out on any of the fall foods this year!

From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider is the perfect drink to take us into fall!

With all of the excitement of pumpkin spice season, I feel like we often forget some of the other amazing produce that really shines this time of year. Yes, squash are plentiful, but let’s not forget about persimmons, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts and, of course APPLES!

Since I feel it’s just a tad too early for all the pumpkin (but don’t worry, it’s coming soon!) I wanted to take advantage of what I feel is a true September fruit and share this delish From-Scratch Slow Cooked Spiced Apple Cider today!

To be honest, I’d never ventured into the homemade apple cider realm before, but since I’m firmly on the wagon this September, I decided now was a better time than any to try my hand at a tasty non-alcoholic sipper. I love a good apple cider (and, let’s be real, I love it even more when I can spike it with some bourbon), but sometimes the store-bought stuff can get a bit too sweet for me.

A warm glass of From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider is all you need on a cool fall day.

In fact, ever since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve noticed I’m much more sensitive to overly sugary drinks. If I have more than one glass of juice or other sweetened beverage, I get a massive headache not unlike you’d get from an actual alcohol hangover. I guess that goes to show that my body doesn’t like too much of anything! Balance my friends, balance.

As I was browsing through homemade apple cider recipes online, I came across a bunch of variations and ultimately decided on a combination that I felt would be uniquely “me.” While I omitted any sort of added sugar (maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, etc.) that other recipes included, I also included what could be called the “secret ingredient” in my homemade boilo hot toddy I make every winter – caraway seeds! Of course, that would be in addition to the requisite cinnamon sticks and cloves. The result was so deliciously spiced and NOT overly sweet, I immediately fell in love!

So here’s the deal on this super-easy From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider:

I used Gala apples because I felt they have a good balance of sweetness and acidity, but you could really use any variety you prefer. If you like things more sour, go for the green apples. If you like things more mellow, go for the red ones, or try a combination of a few different varieties to get a truly unique flavor.

An orange is added for a little extra dimension, and of course the whole spices mentioned above – caraway seeds, cinnamon sticks and cloves. The chunks don’t matter because we’re straining it all out in the end anyhow.

As far as the process goes, our use of the slow cooker means things couldn’t be easier. We simply throw all of the ingredients in together with some high-quality H2O, set it and forget it. I cooked mine on low for 7 hours, but the other great thing about this recipe is it won’t really hurt to leave it in there a little bit longer. Basically, we can start the slow cooker before bed and wake up to delicious hot apple cider, or we can get everything organized in the morning and have a huge batch of apple cider ready to be spiked up a bit for an after-dinner drink 😉

From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider is garnished with fresh apple slices and whole cinnamon sticks.

And if you happen to like your cider a bit on the sweeter side, simply add some maple syrup or honey to taste after you strain all the solids out after the cooking process is done.

Bet you didn’t think a tasty batch of From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider was that easy to whip up, did you?

Delicious From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider ready to be consumed with or without bourbon.

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have a great weekend! Xx

From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
7 hrs
Total Time
7 hrs 5 mins

A not-too-sweet homemade version of a favorite fall drink, full of mouthwatering spices and fresh apple flavor and ready in just a few hours.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 8-10 medium Gala apples, cored and sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 10 cups filtered water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 hours.

  2. Strain solids from mixture using a sieve (or cheesecloth) and into a large pitcher. Add more sliced apples and cinnamon sticks. Serve warm (and add bourbon if you want to booze it up!)

From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider |

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

We’re taking our breakfast game to the next level.

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

We all know how much I love a good stuffed Portobello mushroom, so naturally I had to make a breakfast version so I have an excuse to eat these tasty, filling ‘shrooms every minute of every day. These Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms will leave you satisfied and wanting more. Maybe you’ll even want to make them for dinner? We love a good BFD in our household.

But first let’s chat for a second. I know I mentioned it briefly a week or so ago, but we are now officially ONE MONTH away from Chris and my Big Day!! That being said, it’s time for us to buckle down and really focus on putting whole, nutritious foods into our bodies for the next four weeks (with some exceptions of course, we still have the Fourth of July and one more wedding to get through before then!) I’ve decided to take you all along for the ride, so get ready for some super delicious and nutritious recipes coming your way in the very near future.

These Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are kind of my way of easing on into the extra-healthy eating mindset. They are certainly not unhealthy, but I couldn’t help myself and had to add a little cheese and make my sourdough breadcrumbs nice and toasty by using just a leeetle bit of butter. I hope you don’t mind (well, I’m sure you won’t mind after you taste these delicious little creations.)

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

What I DO think is awesome about these stuffed ‘shrooms as a breakfast item is the fact that they get you soooo much protein first thing in the morning and they will keep you full for hours on end. None of this fruity, carb-laden stuff that wears off an hour or two after you eat it. Chris and I actually had these for dinner and, since we hadn’t had lunch that day, I plated up two for each of us, but we both could only get through the first ones because they were so filling. Hooray for leftovers! They made a GREAT lunch today.

You get all of this blood sugar-stabilizing protein from both the Portobellos and the eggs, with a little extra added in from the sweet chicken Italian sausage and cheese. I think we’re safe to say that the Portobellos also count as a vegetable, so with the addition of fresh chives and tomatoes we can practically say we’re eating a salad for breakfast.

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

The other great things (yes, plural!) about these Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are:

  1. The ease with which they come together. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are the quickest option for a weekday breakfast as you’re running out the door to work, but they certainly don’t take so long that they’ll eat up your entire Saturday morning and cut into any of the other fun adventures you should be having during the weekend.  The saving grace that also makes these a viable option for a weekday meal? See Point #2 below…
  2. These reheat surprisingly well, which means you can easily prep them the night before and just pop them in the microwave or oven in the morning and have breakfast fit for a king in less than five minutes.  Just be sure you don’t overcook your eggs in the first place if you’re planning to go this route. I left mine with just the slightest bit of runniness before loading them into the Portobellos as stuffing, so when I reheated them in the microwave they came out perfectly.

So now you have no excuses not to make these! Just so we’re sure you’re not intimidated, let me walk you through the super simple process:

We clean and de-stem some huge, meaty Portobello mushrooms and brush them with an olive oil and fresh garlic combo. Before placing them in the oven we sprinkle on some salt and pepper because seasoning is king.

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

We roast our Portobellos for just a bit, then take them out of the oven and let them cool.

We cook up our Italian sausage and set it aside, then start with the scrambled egg mixture. In go eggs, fresh chives, tomatoes, cheese, and don’t forget the sausage!

We scramble those around until there’s just the tiniest bit of runniness left, and scoop the mixture evenly amongst our mushroom tops.

Finally, we whip up our trusty sourdough breadcrumbs, laced with just a bit more cheese. The sourdough breadcrumb-cheesy topping is the key to really taking these stuffed mushrooms into breakfast land.

A quick trip under the broiler, and we have ourselves deliciously hearty Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with a golden dusting of “toast.”

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

Serve now, serve later, doesn’t matter. These will be waiting and ready for you whenever you get the urge to eat them. Now who says breakfast isn’t the most exciting meal of the day? 😉

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

A delicious, protein-packed breakfast version of the classic stuffed Portobello mushroom. A great way to start your day off on the right foot!


  • 4 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 sweet chicken Italian sausages, casings removed (about 9 ounces)
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss and/or Gruyere cheese, divided
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and place Portobello mushrooms on it.
  2. Combine garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and brush over mushrooms. Be sure to brush both the top and the bottom to get an even coating. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the Italian sausage. Once sausage is done, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
  4. Place eggs in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to scramble. Using the same sauté pan as you did for the sausage, begin cooking eggs over medium heat. Low and slow is the way to go when cooking these to be sure you don’t overdo it. Almost as soon as you’ve added the eggs to the pan, add in the cherry tomatoes, chives and ¼ cup of the shredded cheese. Stir until eggs are mostly scrambled, with just a little bit of wetness remaining. This will prevent the eggs from over-drying when you put them under the broiler or reheat them.
  5. Gently scoop scrambled egg mixture evenly into the four Portobello mushroom caps. Set aside (keeping them in a slightly warm oven will help them to not get too cold.)
  6. Using a food processor, break down the sourdough bread into small crumbs. Heat butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high. Once butter is melted, add sourdough breadcrumbs to pan. Let cook, stirring every so often to prevent burning, until breadcrumbs take on a golden, toasty color. Remove breadcrumbs to a small bowl and stir in remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Sprinkle mixture over the top of each mushroom.
  7. Turn your oven broiler on high and place stuffed mushrooms under it for about 2 minutes. This will help further toast the breadcrumbs and melt the cheese. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
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Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

Breakfast of champions.

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi

Sunday = Funday = Brunch Day

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

That’s how I feel at least. I adore brunch. It is my favorite meal of the day by far. Perhaps because most of us only take the time to enjoy it on the weekends or for special occasions, when our schedules are not packed full of work, errands and appointments. Brunch is a time to connect in a fairly intimate setting with our friends/dining partners. We’re not out in a loud bar or trying to keep our eyes open over our dinners. We’re not hurrying through a weekday breakfast, drinking our smoothies as we’re rushing to get ready for a day at the office, or skipping the meal altogether.

Brunch has no time frame. It can go on for hours and bleed well into the afternoon. It has no stuffy parameters and can take any form with many different types of foods, and in my opinion is most always enjoyed with wonderful people. I have a special surprise in store for you all soon to share my affinity for this increasingly trendy meal, but for now I wanted to leave you with a delicious, different, and some would call “exotic” brunch dish I dreamed up.

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

As soon as I came across My Name is Yeh’s fabulous recipe for furikake latkes, my recipe development wheels started turning. You see, being raised by a father that grew up in Hawaii, the Asian seaweed and seasoning combination has been a favorite of mine ever since I stopped ordering JUST grilled cheese at every restaurant we ate at whenever we were visiting the islands. Typically used as a seasoning for rice, I quickly found whatever uses I could for it and starting using it to top any and all of my Asian-inspired meals (like my Spicy Poke Bowl.) Once I saw the latke recipe, I realized my creativity had been severely lacking in the furikake department recently.

My mind immediately wandered to one of my favorite Hawaiian breakfast dishes, kimchi fried rice (specifically the version that one of my favorite Oahu restaurants, Big City Diner, makes.) I decided to combine the idea of using furikake to season potatoes (like the latkes, but this time in hashbrown form), a crockpot version of Hawaii’s classic shredded meat, Kalua pork, and some homemade kimchi to really add that acidic kick I love so much in Big City’s Kim Chi Fried Rice. Oh, and to really make it “brunch” (rather than lunch or dinner, of which it could easily be either) of course I had to top it with a fried egg.

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

This recipe doesn’t take too much time to put together the morning of, but it does require a little bit of prep work the day before (and a food processor, unless you know how to make shredded potatoes otherwise!) But that’s okay, because we’re talking Sunday brunch here which means you’ll have all of Saturday to get things organized. I prepped the kimchi a day in advance (using this quick kimchi recipe from Food & Wine) and put it in a mason jar to let it sit overnight. Before we went to bed that night, I got this Kalua pork recipe going in the slow cooker. The next morning, the kimchi was marinated, the meat was done, and all I needed to do was make the hashbrowns and the fried egg and pull it all together.

I realize that these are all fairly unusually combinations and flavors for anyone that hasn’t grown up eating Hawaii’s amazing foodstuffs, but just trust me on this one. If you’re a fan of savory breakfasts, with a little bit of salty, a little bit of savory, and a little bit of acidity (and lots of protein!) these Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi are for you.

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

Now please, please, please get on the phone with all of your closest friends and invite them over for brunch tomorrow. Whip up some of these or these to whet everyone’s palates when they arrive, and they will be clamoring for these bad boys as soon as they smell everything wafting through the air.

I, myself, am going to continue to enjoy this amazing town of Vancouver for a couple more days, but you can bet I’m looking forward to whipping up a brunch as soon as I get back!

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi

Yield: Serves 4

A Hawaiian-inspired breakfast recipe featuring a twist on the classic hashbrown, delicious pulled pork and tangy kimchi.


  • 1 recipe of Fresh Cabbage Kimchi (you will have leftovers to use in other dishes)
  • 1 recipe of Kalua pork (you will also have leftovers of this)
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4-6 tablespoons furikake
  • 6-8 eggs
  • Sriracha (optional)


  1. Prepare Fresh Cabbage Kimchi as directed. Place in mason jar for storage and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Prepare Kalua pork as directed. In the morning, once the pork has finished cooking (and is still on the “warming” phase), shred the pork in the crockpot using two forks. Let sit in its own juices for about 20 minutes, then remove from crockpot and set aside.
  3. Using the shredder attachment of a food processor, shred the potatoes. Immediately remove from food processor and place on a plate or in a shallow bowl, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. This will prevent the potatoes from turning brown before you cook them.
  4. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, spread out potatoes evenly in a thin layer on the pan. Let cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until bottom side of hashbrowns become golden brown and crispy. Flip hashbrowns over and cook for another 8-10 minutes to brown and crisp up the other side. Remove from pan onto large plate, and place in microwave to keep warm.
  5. In the same skillet that you used for the hashbrowns, heat another two tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted and pan is hot, crack eggs directly into pan. Let cook on one side until the whites turn opaque and the yolks begin to harden. Flip over to finish cooking and then turn off the heat.
  6. To assemble the plates: Start with a layer of the furikake hashbrowns, then add the Kalua pork. Top the pork with the fried eggs and then with the kimchi.
  7. If you’d like to add a little more “heat” to the dish (I did!) add a little drizzle of sriracha.


Wine Pairing Notes: Since we’re talking brunch, we might as well talk about a good alcoholic beverage pairing. I’d highly recommend an Italian Prosecco with this dish (orange juice optional.) Prosecco tends to have a slight off-dry flavor, which make it the perfect pairing for a spicier breakfast dish with lots of different flavors going on.

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Furikake Hashbrowns with Kalua Pork & Kimchi | CaliGirl Cooking

Is anyone else’s mouth watering yet?