Savory Bread Pudding (Vegetarian)

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Ingredients

1 loaf multigrain bread
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb mushrooms (any type, or a mix), sliced
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 or 2 bell peppers (red or green, or one each), cut into 2 inch strips
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
8 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cut the bread into medium pieces (crouton size). Spread them on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven until just crisp on the outside.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms, garlic, onions and celery in the olive oil and butter in a hot frying pan.  Add thyme, salt and pepper.  Saute until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan.

3. Beat the eggs, heavy cream and milk in a very large bowl. Add the parsley and breadcrumbs and mix well. Allow to sit in refrigerator for about 15 minutes or until bread has absorbed much of the egg mixture.

4. Add the sauteed veggies and mix gently. Empty into one or two deep oven safe dishes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until it is just set in the middle.

5. Serve warm with either soup or salad on the side.

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