No need to wait for Thanksgiving to dish up this ultra savory Gluten Free Rosemary Apple Cheesy Bread Casserole. Toasty and crispy on the top while moist and cheesy in the middle. It’s the perfect marriage.
Just because you think your kid is perfect (and most likely you are also overcompensating for feeling inadequate as a parent) doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. Seriously, you jerk face mamas need to lighten up and give yourself a big old spanking for your lame-o bad attitudes. Or go sit yourself in timeout.
This mama bear doesn’t come out too often, mostly because I despise confrontation, but when it comes to my children being pushed around, I come out in full force. In fact, I’ve been known to jump to conclusions a time or two thinking that my child has been messed with only to find out it was a misunderstanding. For this very reason, I try to sit back for a moment, evaluate the situation, and then pounce.
Such was the case today.
Today was the first day of our epic Spring Break 2017. You bet we’re going to live it up on our island for the next week! First up was hanging out at the tide pools and catching a few waves surfing. It was a beautiful morning despite the 45 minutes of traffic that it took to drive 10 miles. Sheesh!
Anyhow, the kiddos were having a blast. They were catching sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea urchins, snot looking snake thingies (I think that’s the scientific name for them), and a few other tide pool creatures. We even got to witness a monk seal basking in the sun out by the rocks. Needless to say, it was a perfect beach day.
After torturing the marine life (I swear I make them handle the animals gently and always return them to where they were found), Emry and her buddy moved on to jumping from the rocks into the tide pools. They were playing so nicely, taking turns, and grinning from ear to ear.
Then it happened.
A boy slightly older than Emry pushed her right off the rocks before she was about to jump. She crashed into the bottom rocks and then tumbled down into the water. As she came up out of the water to catch her breath, she was holding her knee and crying in obvious pain.
Emry never complains about getting hurt. She usually just brushes it off and avoids any extra attention you try to give her. The fact that she was crying, I knew she was really hurt. Obviously I ran over to see if she was okay and to give her a great big mama hug.
After reaching her, I was perplexed as to why nobody had said anything to this boy who pushed her off the rocks. I looked around and noticed no parent about to intervene. I snapped my fingers at the kid and asked where his parents were. He sheepishly pointed behind me. As I turned around, I met her…MISS JERK FACE.
I looked at her and calmly stated, “Your son just pushed my daughter off the rocks.”
This is what Jerk Face said, legs crossed, shoulders shrugged, and snooty nose in the air, “What??? He didn’t push her. YOUR daughter FELL in the water.” Oh, and please say these words in the most condescending tone of voice that you can possibly muster because that is exactly what she sounded like.
Long story short, the boy totally admitted to pushing Emry off the rocks even as his mother blatantly lied in front of me, saying she saw the whole thing, instead of using this moment to teach her child the importance of apologizing. In this little boy’s defense, he was actually the one that slipped and used my poor, sweet Emry to brace himself from falling. As he was reaching his arms out to catch himself on Emry was the very moment I witnessed “the push”.
Still, that mama is a Jerk Face in my book. She didn’t even say a single “I’m sorry” during the entire situation because again she was just a plain old Jerk Face.
It’s all good, though. My tough little cookie brushed it off after only a few seconds, climbed herself right back up on those rocks, and continued jumping. Nobody’s gonna crack my little girl’s spirit!
You know, Emry’s a lot like this Gluten Free Rosemary Apple Cheese Bread Casserole I made the other day. Is that weird to compare my child to a casserole??? Nah! This casserole is crispy and crunchy on the outside with a surprisingly soft center packed with sweet and savory flavor and melted cheese. Just like Emry…rough and tough on the outside but squishy, sweet, and sensitive on the inside.
Now I didn’t intend for this cheesy casserole to be considered “stuffing” but it has somewhat of a stuffing vibe to it.
Basically I took gluten free bread, cubed it up, and toasted it to make crispy croutons. Then I tossed those crunchy bread cubes with a mixture of tender cooked onions, mushrooms, apples, and spinach. I drenched the mixture in some whisked eggs and half and half (along with some extra seasonings), threw in some lovely grated Gruyere cheese, and baked that baby in the oven until the top turned golden brown and crispy.
Ben said it slightly reminded him of a quiche or souffle with the eggy center. He loved it and agreed that even though it could be considered a Thanksgiving side dish, it was completely appropriate to eat in the middle of spring. Hehe.
Not only did we eat basically stuffing in spring, but we ate it as our main dish instead of as a side dish. It’s perfectly filling, and with all the eggs, spinach, apples, cheese, and bread cubes…you’ve got all food groups covered. I dished this casserole up with a side of fruit salad and some sauteed green beans for a healthily balanced meal.
Even though both girls grimaced when they saw me cooking apples with onions, thinking their mom has gone CRAY CRAY, they were pleasantly surprised to learn that apples can be a delicious compliment in savory dishes. There is a beauty to the combination of apples, onions, and rosemary that I will always love.
So give this stuffing, bread casserole, souffle, quiche, savory bread pudding…whatever it may be called…a whirl for your next dinner. It’s a comfort food indeed and may be just what I need to mend my bad attitude concerning poopy mamas.
What is your family secret to making a great stuffing?
- 6 cups gluten free bread cubes (about ½" thick, I used Rudi's white sandwich bread)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ cup chopped mushrooms (about 4)
- 1 medium apple, diced (I used Pink Lady)
- 4 cups freshly chopped spinach
- ¼ cup white wine
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1¾ cups half and half
- 7 eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sweetener (pure maple syrup, honey, or sugar)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed sage
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1¾ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. While oven is heating, cube bread into ½" squares. Lay bread on baking sheet and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until turning golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is heating, chop onion, mushrooms, and apple.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles, add chopped onion, mushrooms, and apple to the pan. Season with a few shakes of salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes or until onions and apples are tender, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
- Add spinach and white wine and cook for 3-4 minutes more until wine is reduced and spinach is wilted. Season with a few more shakes of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and whisk in half and half. Add ground mustard, rosemary, sweetener of choice, thyme leaves, salt, sage, garlic powder, pepper, and 1½ cups of the shredded cheese. Stir together until evenly dispersed.
- Grease a 9X13 baking dish and spread toasted bread cubes in dish. Sprinkle with spinach mixture. Toss to evenly incorporate. Pour half and half mixture over bread pieces. Stir to combine and make sure all bread pieces are soaked in liquid.
- Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until completely set. Add remaining ¼ cup of cheese during last 10 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes to cool and set. Serve warm.