Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

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I love a breakfast casserole on Christmas morning!

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When I’m at my sister’s house for Christmas, the present-opening part of the morning tends to go on...

and on...

and on!

Finally, my brother in-law, Josh, can’t stand it anymore.

He'll declare a break for us all to fuel up so that maybe we can finish all of presents sometime before dinner!

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We used to just make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

But as much as we all love a good, old-fashioned, sugar-filled breakfast, we decided we wanted something a little more substantial—not to replace the sugary stuff, of course, just to go with it!

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And that brought us to breakfast casseroles!

What’s better than making a breakfast big enough to serve your whole family and barely lifting a finger because you made that breakfast the night before?

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Well, I guess there is one thing better...

Making your casserole with everything bagels!

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It’s like a bagel sandwich with eggs, bacon, and veggie cream cheese—in casserole form!

And this year, it just might be the best present under your tree!

(Just to be clear, please don’t put this under your tree. Keep it refrigerated and bake at 375°. 😉)

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

servings: 10 to 12


  • 4 bacon strips (about 4 ounces)
  • 6 everything bagels (1 pound, 4 ounce-bag of bagels), chopped
  • 1 medium yellow squash, chopped (about 2 cups or 8 ounces)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • One 8-ounce block of cream cheese, cut into ½-inch slices


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp—about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then coarsely chop and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bagel, squash, red bell pepper, and scallions, then set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, Gruyere, salt, garlic powder, and ground black pepper.
  4. Prepare a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then add half of the bagel mixture to the dish. Next sprinkle on half of the cream cheese and half of the bacon. Repeat this layering with the remaining bagel mixture, cream cheese, and bacon.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the entire casserole, then cover the casserole and chill it in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and bake it covered for 40 minutes, then uncovered until the eggs are set and the bagel pieces are toasted in spots—about 15 minutes more.
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking

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Holiday Brie + Honey Crostini with Pistachio + Pink Peppercorns

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I love easy appetizers!

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And even better than just being easy, I love appetizers that are easy and ridiculously tasty.

You know the type—they're made with just a couple of ingredients but still get oohs and aahs from your guests.

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Well, look no further for your next appetizer that fits this bill!

This one's really just about assembly...

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Bread, brie, honey.


Peppercorns, pistachios, more honey...

Then serve to your adoring audience!

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The pinch of sharpness from the pink peppercorns cut through the sweet honey and creamy brie—for a perfectly gooey bite.

A bite that also happens to look like a Christmas ornament decorated in red and green!

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Holiday Brie + Honey Crostini with Pistachios + Pink Peppercorns

servings: 8 crostini


  • 8 baguette slices
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, cut into eight ½-ounce slices
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped pink peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped pistachios


  1. Turn on the broiler, to high if you have that option. Arrange the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Top each of the slices with 1 piece of the brie and 1 teaspoon of the honey.
  2. Broil until the cheese is melted and brown—2 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the crostini from the oven and top each with another teaspoon of the honey, and a heavy sprinkle of both the peppercorns and pistachios.
  4. Serve immediately with a knife and fork, or simply pick up and enjoy!
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking
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Christmas Green + Red Cheese Balls

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I don’t think I’ve ever had a party—small or large, planned or last-minute—where I haven’t served cheese.

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If I’m standing around, drinking wine and chatting, I want to be snacking on some sort of cheesy goodness.

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And when it comes to Christmas, I find that my family is always in need of appetizers.

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I love the part of holiday gatherings where everyone is just relaxing and munching...

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So to bring some cheese to the holidays and keep things super festive at the same time, may I present you with Christmas Cheese Balls!

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The ingredients are few and the time involved is minimal, but in the end you'll be walking in with a show-stopping appetizer!

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You can make just the cheese ball with the green inside and enjoy a pesto-inspired ball with a red outside of tart and crunchy pomegranates.

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Or you can choose the ball with the red inside made with sundried tomatoes and green-coated in pistachios and herbs.

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No matter what you do, you’ve got a cheese ball!

And with that, you’ve got a party!

Christmas Cheese Ball
(Red Outside + Green Inside)

servings: 1 cheese ball


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • 4 ounces herbed goat cheese, chilled
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped spinach
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds


  1. Place the cream cheese, goat cheese, spinach, basil, and garlic powder in the bowl of a food processor, then process to combine until the mixture is nearly smooth and evenly green.
  2. Transfer the cheese mixture to a piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic, along with your hands, to form the mixture into a tight ball, then place it in the refrigerator to chill until it is firm—25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the cheese ball from the plastic and transfer it to a small plate. Press the pomegranate seeds around the outside of the ball to fully cover it, then reshape it as needed to form a sphere. If you are having any trouble shaping it, let it chill for longer and try shaping/decorating again.
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking

Christmas Cheese Ball
(Green Outside + Red Inside)

servings: 1 cheese ball


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios


  1. Place the cream cheese and sundried tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor, then process to combine until the mixture is nearly smooth and evenly red.
  2. Transfer the cheese mixture to a piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic, along with your hands, to form the mixture into a tight ball, then place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the cheese ball from the plastic wrap and transfer it to a small plate. Press the parsley around the outside of the ball to fully cover it, then repeat with the pistachios. Reshape the cheese ball as needed to form a sphere.
  4. Serve alongside the red cheese ball and your favorite crackers!
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking
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Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

Sometimes you want to take things up a notch!

You want to put a little extra time and love into some special dishes that are sure to get "oohs" and "aahs" at your table.

If this is what you are looking to do, I suggest you start by simmering down some pomegranate juice into a thick molasses-type sauce.

Then make it into a honey, orange zest, and vinegar dressing that will coat your perfectly roasted carrots in a glaze of goodness.

And finally take the time to top those glistening, sticky sweet carrots with pecans, a touch of yogurt, pomegranate seeds, and parsley...

In the end you will be rewarded with a side dish that definitely takes things to the next level--offering all the flavors of a home-cooked meal, but with enough elegance for a sophisticated restaurant service.

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

servings: 2 -3 servings


  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (see note below)
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Zest of ¼ orange
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small sauce pot, bring the pomegranate juice and sugar to a simmer. Continue to simmer this mixture until it has reduced to a molasses-like consistency—about 30 minutes. You should have about 2 tablespoons of this thickened pomegranate juice.
  2. Transfer the pomegranate mixture to a medium bowl, then whisk in the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the honey, Dijon, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and the orange zest.
  3. Add the carrots to a baking sheet, tossing them with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Roast them in the oven until they are tender and nicely browned on the outside—about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the carrots from the oven and toss them with the pomegranate vinaigrette, then return them to the oven for 5 minutes more.
  5. After removing the carrots from the oven, serve by drizzling them with the yogurt, then sprinkling with the pecans, pomegranate seeds, and parsley.


  • You will want to use 100% pomegranate juice, not pomegranate juice mixed with other juices, or with added sugar. If you can't find pure pomegranate juice, you can use a blend, but your glaze will be significantly sweeter; adding a little extra vinegar may balance it out.
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking

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Berry Keylime "Cheesecake"

A cheesecake with no cheese?! 

Now that's just silly talk...

Or is it?

While developing recipes for Dannon's Oikos Greek Yogurt I played around with the idea of making something sweet instead of savory out of the yogurt. But experimenting in the baking world usually means I end up frustrated, covered in flour, downing my 3rd glass of wine....

Well not this time!! This time (and maybe only this time) I am a genius! Or at least I created something edible ;)



9 Graham Crackers

2Tbs Sugar

4Tbs Butter, melted


2 containers Oikos Key Lime Greek Yogurt

2 containers Oikos Strawberry or Raspberry Greek Yogurt

4 eggs

1 can sweetened condensed milk

4Tbs All Purpose Flour

Pulse graham crackers, sugar and butter in a food processor. Pat mixture into the bottom of a 9inch spring form pan. Set aside. In a bowl combine 2 containers of Key Lime Greek Yogurt, 2 eggs, 2 Tbs flour and half of the sweetened condensed milk. In a separate bowl combine the Berry Greek Yogurt with the remaining eggs, flour and sweetened condensed milk.  Add red food coloring to the Berry mixture and green to the Key Lime mixture if desired.  Pour Berry mixture on top of the crust, then slowly pour the Key Lime mixture on top of that. Bake at 350 for 35-40 until the center is set and edges are fully cooked. Refrigerate for at least 3 hour or over-night. Serve and enjoy!!


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Challah Hangover



I don’t know much, but I do know my alcohol.

Before the word “DRUNK!” runs into your head let me explain... 

When I first came to NYC I realized that the best place to make a buck was a bar. Drunk people had to be better tippers than the sober coffee drinking teenagers at my last job.  So though I had never actually been in a bar (details, details) and barely knew that vodka and gin were two different things (it all tastes the same, right?!) I somehow convinced a man named Tom that he just HAD to hire me. 





I was SO convincing that I was not only hired but given the serious responsibility of...Keeper of the Coats!! 

The only thing I could say was that I would be “the BEST coat check girl EVER.”

Yep, really living the NYC dream!



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Oreo Sliders




Desserts to me should always be whimsical and please that hungry inner child in all of us.

My hungry inner child is often found staring at me with a glint in her eye daring me to come up with some sinfully delicious and completely outrageous new dessert. 

And when she has that look in her eye I have no choice but to simply concede and let my stomach do all the thinking…





Lately she has been on a real oreo kick.


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Cookie Dough Truffle

It’s a relief to know that every now and then a crazy idea of mine actually works out in the kitchen. You see, I have a tendency to experiment...

...as in, mess up perfectly good recipes (especially if I’m baking).

I get unshakeable ideas in my head that simply will not go away! And yes, sometimes they don’t quite work. But, there are other times when they just, well, WORK! This time--oh baby!--it just WORKED!

3 ingredients...TOTALLY RIDICULOUSLY GOOD! The joys of experimenting!

Cookie Dough Truffle


  • One twelve-ounce box of Entenmann’s Original Recipe Chocolate Chips Cookies
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 10-12 ounces milk chocolate


  1. Combine the cookies and cream cheese in a food processor, and process until the mixture forms one dough-like ball. Let the mixture chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator/freezer and roll it into 1-inch balls, then place the balls back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Make a double boiler by filling a sauce pan with about an inch of water and allowing it to simmer; then place a glass or metal bowl on top of it. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted.
  4. Remove a couple of balls from the refrigerator at a time, then drop them in the chocolate. Remove them with a fork, shake off the excess chocolate, and set them on wax paper or a Silpat.
  5. Place the finished truffles in the refrigerator to set. Remove them when ready to eat, and enjoy!


  • If the dough balls are falling apart when you dip them in the chocolate, let them chill for longer and then try again.
  • The more chocolate you shake off when scooping the balls out of the bowl of chocolate, the less of a puddle will form under the ball when it is hardening up.
  • If you don’t have wax paper or a Silpat, spray a baking sheet or tin foil with cooking spray and place the finished balls on it.
  • I like these right out of the fridge because the chocolate is harder and gives you more of a bite. However, they're good at room temperature, too--just softer.
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking


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