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Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Casserole

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My poor husband. He woke up this morning thinking that it was Father’s Day. He woke up thinking there would be breakfast in bed. And gifts. And probably lamb burgers for dinner. Alas, he had pegged the wrong Sunday. Not only was today not Father’s Day. And not only would he not be leisurely reading the newspaper while dining on breakfast in bed. But, today was my morning to sleep in, since he’d had his turn yesterday morning. It was his turn to prepare breakfast for the three boys, while I grabbed a few precious extra minutes of peaceful slumber. Sorry, hubs. Next Sunday you’ll get your breakfast in bed. And gifts. And maybe even lamb burgers.

Breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day has become our annual tradition. There’s just something so luxuriously relaxing about it. And since it doesn’t happen often, the kids get really excited about the occasion. If the kids ever sleep past six in the morning, perhaps we’ll start treating them to a special breakfast in bed on their birthdays.

Recently, I made this bacon, egg, and cheese bagel casserole. It was inspired by a bag of bagels which my parents had brought up from Long Island. They’d been left unwrapped for a few days and had gone slightly stale. But as anyone who’s ever had a good Long Island or NYC bagel knows, it’s a crime to let them go to waste. So, I thought I’d try throwing them into a breakfast casserole, with a hefty dose of bacon, eggs, and cheese. The resulting casserole was a satisfying success; every bite with the flavor of a good Long Island/NYC bagel sandwich.

I’m betting that a lot of dads out there would enjoy this special casserole for their Father’s Day breakfast!

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 5-6 large bagels (any variety), chopped into 1″ chunks*
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
*Slightly stale bagels work perfectly.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Use a paper towel to rub the bottom and sides of a large (13×9) baking dish with the softened butter. Arrange 5-6 chopped bagels in the baking dish. They should mostly fill the baking dish. Scatter the bacon and cheese over the bagels. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the bagels, bacon, and cheese. Press down on the mixture, so that the bagels are mostly submersed in the egg mixture. Allow the mixture to rest for about 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator, so that the bagels absorb some of the egg mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes.

Serves 6-8

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New York Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on a Bagel

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I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. With countless aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, parents, and grandparents still residing on the island, there are many occasions for visits home. And, one thing makes every trip complete: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on a New York bagel.

Here’s the catch though.  The sandwich must be prepared at the bagel shop.  Many an eager host has offered to make us bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwiches. I’ve got eggs, bacon, and cheese in the fridge, they say.  Just pick up the bagels and I’ll make you a sandwich. Our hearts pound a little faster and we feel flushed. How can we put this politely, without offending our gracious host? “No, no…it’s ok, we’ll just pick up the sandwiches. Thanks though!” What?  You don’t like my bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches?? Oh no. This isn’t going well.  We’ve hurt their feelings. How do we explain this? It’s just that, well, it’s just… Oh, I don’t know!  But, it’s how it has to be.

I think there’s a certain magic that happens when the egg hits the hot bagel shop griddle. Perhaps it’s the aroma of freshly baked bagels in the air? It might even have something to do with the white paper it’s so perfectly wrapped in.

Oh, and the bagels!! I hesitate to say only New York bagels, because it is not a statewide phenomenon. By New York bagels, I refer to downstate, New York City and Long Island bagels. Dense, chewy New York bagels. As a resident of Central New York, I can attest to the difference. Most bagels, outside of the downstate New York area, are more like rolls in a bagel disguise. They look like bagels, smell like bagels, and even feel like a bagel when your lips first touch the glossy exterior.  But inside, it’s just a piece of bread. So, so sad. Oddly enough, the one place that’s come closest to a New York style bagel was a small bagel shop we visited in Clearwater, Florida. Doughy and delicious bagels, with just the right amount of resistance to the bite. But, they did not make bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches. So, so sad.

So, now we’re home.  Bag of Long Island bagels in hand. Happy that we have reason to return in the near future!

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