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Friday, January 13, 2012

In the Strata-sphere

You have a hungry bunch.
Feeding them can be a challenge.
Some of us also have a mix of carnivores and vegetarians lumbering around the house
 which compounds the challenge.
How about something you can assemble easily in the morning and bake up that night
when you're too exhausted to cook?
This veggie-packed crowd pleaser can use up leftovers, bread
that's no longer soft, and it's surprisingly light and puffy.
I'm sharing my favorite combination, and the recipe for two stratas, one vegetarian, one with ham.
To make just one, cut the amounts in half.
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups finely chopped onion (2 large)
  • 1 pound thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 3 thinly sliced tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
  • Olive oil to saute
  • 1 cup of wine. I like sherry as a compliment to the Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Garlic to taste
  • 16 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (2 loaves)
  • 24 oz grated 6 cheese Italian blend
  • 16 oz sliced Swiss cheese
  • 5 1/2 cups milk. I use 2%
  • 18 large eggs. Use egg substitute if you just clutched your chest
  • 5 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Saute up the onion in a pan with the olive oil until just translucent. Add the seasonings, mushrooms, and sherry and saute for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and broccoli and toss until the broccoli is just tender.
 Spray two baking pans with cooking spray and layer the bottoms with bread.
 Spread the ham over the bread in your carnivore casserole.

Divide the veggie mixture, spreading it over the surface.

 Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
The kids are getting interested at this point.
 Layer the remaining bread over the cheese.
Top with the sliced tomato, then the Swiss.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them until lightly beaten. Add the milk and mustard and beat until blended. Ladle the custard evenly over the top, slowly coating all of the cheese and bread.
 Cover this tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours so the bread can soak up the egg and milk. This can even be done the day before. How's that for convenience? Go sledding. Return things to Macy's. Make a Lego kingdom with the kids.
 An hour and a half before dinner, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set the strata on the counter top for a half hour to rest.
Then pop it in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes until it's puffy and golden.
Gooey, cheesy Winter love.
 Savannah, a vegetarian who hates spinach, suspected nothing.
This one dish dinner satisfied everyone.
Get ready to hear, "OMG Mom, this is amazing!"
"Babe, you have another winner."
"This is definitely one of my favorites."

1 comment: said...

THANK YOU for the shout out, lady!! These both look SO amazing and I've never made one before. My mouth is watering...nom nom nom..any leftovers?