Festive Breakfast: Part Seven

The holidays are nearly upon us and, for me, that means trying to find fun ways to entertain. Usually. This year is not typical. I had foot surgery last Friday and now I'm relegated to bed-rest and crutches over the holiday season. Merry Christmas, right? Well, that doesn't mean we can't have our festive gatherings anyway. It just means I need to rely on my dear husband to help me out and otherwise plan things carefully. One of the best ways to do that, I've found, is to think of ways to make food ahead and a good breakfast strata is one of my very favorite ways to do that.

One of the most lovely things about stratas is that they really are a flexible way to make breakfast and brunch foods. There's this pretty standard base of torn bread, eggs, and cream or milk. Then you add chopped vegetables and meat, shredded cheese, fun seasoning mixes, and whatever else your heart desires. You can even top them with dollops of sour cream and sliced green onions once you've got them to the table. They are also fantastic vehicles for your leftovers. This is particularly handy during the holiday season, when you might find yourself in possession of leftover turkey, ham, roasted vegetables, and loads of other holiday regulars. Look in your refrigerator: there's a strata waiting for you!

No-Stress Holiday Strata

  • 9-10 slices sturdy bread, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 16 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups cubed cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomato
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer half of the torn bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the mushrooms and green bell pepper evenly over the bread layer. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with the remaining bread pieces, then layer with the onion, ham, and sun-dried tomato. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Whisk together the eggs and milk; pour over the entire pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the covered pan for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is evenly brown.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour (not including chilling time)

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