Sunday, April 7, 2013

Breakfast Strata Aint Bio-Chem

Weekend here? Friday night over? Cafeteria closed? Planning to get some study time in, maybe?

Today's recipe is freshman level difficulty.  Not only a reminder of home and good cookin', it's guaranteed to satisfy and easy to make.

For lower fat content, exchange whole milk for 2% or use reduced fat 2% cheeses, or turkey sausage, and drain/press the sausage throughly after it's been cooked.

You know how to brown hamburger and sauté mushrooms--same techniques with sausage or onions.  Seriously!
Brown. Layer. Mix. Pour. Bake. Eat.

Variations are endless. A few suggestions follow for the gourmet in Jon.
(Adapted from Gale Gand's Breakfast Strata recipe featured in House Beautiful)

*This needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours BEFORE baking. Make it the night before, refrigerate and plan for a crowd.*

9" x 13" Pyrex Dish, buttered or sprayed
PAM Spray
Mixing Bowl
Whisk or Electric mixer

5 cups French, crusty bread
2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup (1 lb)sausage, browned and drained
1 cup sautéed mushrooms
10 large eggs
1 quart whole milk (can use 2% milk)
1 tsp dry mustard ( or 1/4 tsp Dijon)
1 tsp salt

1. Wash your hands.

2. Prepare the ingredients:
a. Tear crusty bread into chunks
b. Brown your meats and drain fat.
c. Shred your cheese
d. Prep any other ingredients (roast garlic, saute mushrooms, caramelize onions)

3. Butter the Pyrex dish.
4. Layer torn bread chunks into Pyrex
5. Sprinkle shredded cheese over bread

(You can layer filling ingredients prior to soaking with custard as well.  It's all going to be mixed together anyhow.)

6. Prepare the custard in large mixing bowl:
a. Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, salt
b. Pour over bread-cheese layer

7. Sprinkle sausage & mushrooms over egg mixture and fold in gently

8. Cover and chill at least 4hrs, up to 24 hrs.

9. When ready to bake:
a. Heat oven to 350 degrees
b. Bake uncovered x 60 minutes
c. It should puff up and should not have any shiny, uncooked custard visible..

10. Cover with foil if browning too quickly
11. Allow to cool x 5 minutes

Want to explore other  filling combo options?
Here are a few suggestions for the more adventurous:

1. Ham, Swiss, and Caramelized Onions
A. 1 cup Canadian ham, diced
B. 2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
C. 1/2 cup Caramelized onions

(Saute sliced onions in 2 Tbls butter and 1-2 tsp of olive oil on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Really no different than the mushrooms you have learned to make.)

Assemble as above: cheese on bread , then custard, then fold in ham and sprinkle onions on top. Bake.

2. Substitute cooked crumbled bacon for sausage, if you like one over the other.

3. Fontina Cheese, Spinach, Sautéed Mushrooms, (and Roasted Garlic.)
A. 2 cups Fontina, grated
B. 1 cup frozen spinach, over egg mix
C. 1 cup sautéed mushrooms

Baseball has started in the Windy City!
Cubs trying to win the World Series again. 

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