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Quick Fix / 30 MINUTES OR LESS

Simple Comforts


Sometimes the best meals are made up of small surprises. Bread pudding, for instance, is a soft, comforting dish that is most often a sweet dessert. But it can be a wonderful savory dish too.

Tomato and goat cheese bread pudding, for instance, is as rich, creamy and comforting as any dessert bread pudding. And you don't have to wait until the end of the meal to eat it.

The pudding is a great vegetarian entree on its own or with a baby spinach salad dressed with a splash or two of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Here, we've paired it with grilled or broiled chicken breast topped with a simple garlic butter. The chicken is another simple dish you might keep in mind to serve on its own or with salad. The garlic butter--known by professional chefs as a compound butter--is firmed up in the refrigerator and gives a simple piece of meat, fish or poultry great flavor.

Though bread puddings most often use stale bread, I like using fresh egg bread for this savory pudding. Its flavor and texture work well with the tangy flavor and creamy texture of the goat cheese and the sharper basil and tomato.

A glass of Chianti is perfect with this meal. For dessert, toss some cubed cantaloupe and honeydew in a little lime juice. Garnish the top of this mixed melon salad with a drizzle of grenadine.


Tomato and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

Grilled Chicken Breasts With Garlic Butter

Baby Spinach Salad

Lime-Tossed Melon With Grenadine

Grilled Chicken Breasts With Garlic Butter

Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes * Active Work Time: 16 minutes


1/4 cup butter

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice

* Mash butter, garlic, pepper and lemon juice together in small bowl, using fork. Butter should be of uniform texture and slightly coarse. Don't over-mix to completely smooth texture or it will take too long to firm up.

* Place softened butter on piece of plastic wrap and form into log, using plastic to form casing. Place butter in freezer to firm up until just before serving the meal. Butter will firm up faster if you place it directly on freezer shelf.

* At last minute, remove plastic wrap and slice log into 8 pieces.


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 pinches of pepper

* Coat chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper in bowl.

* Grill, broil or pan-grill chicken 4 to 6 minutes on each side.

* Top with 1 to 2 slices of garlic butter. Serve immediately.

4 servings. Each serving:

371 calories; 341 mg sodium; 108 mg cholesterol; 40 grams fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 25 grams protein; 0.03 gram fiber;

Tomato and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes * Active Work Time: 5 minutes * Vegetarian

If you can't find fresh basil, try using canned diced peeled tomatoes already seasoned with Italian herbs instead.

1/2 (1-pound) loaf unsliced egg bread

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced peeled tomatoes

2 tablespoons basil, roughly chopped (about 6 large leaves)

Nonstick cooking spray

3 ounces goat cheese

* Cut crust off bottom and ends of egg bread, then cut remaining bread into 1 inch thick slices, then 1 inch cubes. (Top crust gives nice texture to pudding.)

* Mix together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, then pour over bread cubes. Toss to thoroughly coat bread.

* Drain tomatoes, reserving liquid, and toss tomatoes into bread mixture.

* Chop basil and toss into mixture. It should look wet and a little soggy.

* Place bread in 9x9-inch baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.

* Crumble goat cheese over top.

* Drizzle reserved tomato juice over top.

* Bake at 425 degrees until liquid is absorbed and top is puffed up and slightly browned, about 20 minutes.

6 servings. Each serving: 207 calories; 582 mg sodium; 133 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 0.32 gram fiber.


30 minutes before: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Crust and cube egg bread, then assemble bread pudding.

25 minutes before: Put bread pudding into oven. Heat broiler, grill or grill skillet for chicken.

22 minutes before: Make garlic butter and place in refrigerator. Wash bagged spinach for salad.

15 minutes before: Coat chicken in olive oil, add salt and pepper, then begin cooking chicken.

12 minutes before: Check chicken periodically and use next several minutes to clean up or set the table. Toss spinach with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cut melon, sprinkle with lime juice and keep chilled in refrigerator.

5 minutes before: Check bread pudding and remove if top is puffed up and lightly browned.

3 minutes before: Slice butter into 4 or 8 even-sized slices.

2 minutes before: Remove chicken from heat and let it sit out for 2 minutes before serving.

1 minute before: Cut the bread pudding into serving portions and serve. Put butter slices on top of chicken at the last minute.

After main course: Serve melon and lightly drizzle grenadine over top at table just before serving.







Eggs (6)



Balsamic vinegar


Shopping List

1 lemon

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced, peeled tomatoes

1 loaf unsliced egg bread, about 1 pound

3 ounces goat cheese

1 bunch fresh basil

1 bag prewashed spinach

1 cantaloupe

1 honeydew melon

1 lime

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