Breakfast is always a bowl of cereal for Ben. Not only that, he uses the same bowl and sits in the same spot to eat it every morning. I love that about him. I usually eat some fruit and yogurt. Sometimes I make banana bread and we’ll eat that for a few days, and if we’re really getting crazy, scrambled eggs. Needless to say, breakfast is not too thrilling around here.
When company comes I tend to get a little excited about breakfast. This breakfast strata is very adaptable to anyone’s personal taste. I used bacon, mushrooms, spinach, and a combination of swiss and cheddar cheese. Ham would be delicious, or spicy breakfast sausage…mmmm. It would even be great with just vegetables.
There are easier overnight breakfast casseroles. I made one once that used a box of croutons instead of fresh bread and I’ve seen recipes that use frozen hash browns. I liked that this one was completely from scratch. It didn’t take too long to put it together on Friday night. The hard part was getting out of bed early to pre-heat the oven and bake it for an hour and a half. But it was worth it.
I used 1% milk and only used 10 eggs…I dropped 2 and didn’t have any more, oops! I would definitely use all 12 eggs and maybe a fattier dairy product. 2% milk or maybe substitute cream for some of the milk for a richer dish. I would also cube the bread in fairly small cubes, the size of large croutons, 1/2 inch at the biggest. I found the bread in mine to be too large. It tasted delicious…even better reheated on the following morning. This is a keeper recipe with endless possibilities.
Bacon & Cheese Strata
- 1 large (20 ounce) loaf Italian or French bread, cubed
- 8-10 strips bacon
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, or 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
- 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 1/2 cups milk or half and half
- 12 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2-3 Tablespoons spicy grain prepared mustard
- 1 cup swiss and 1 cup cheddar cheese
- Grease a 9″ X 13″ baking dish and set aside.
- Cook bacon until done. Drain on paper towels, then chop.
- Saute the onion and garlic together in butter.
- Place half the cubed bread in the prepared baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk milk, eggs, salt, nutmeg, pepper and mustard until foamy and blended well. Remove from mixer and add cheese.
- Layer half the onions, veggies and bacon on top of the bread.
- Pour half the milk and egg mixture over the bread. Repeat with another layer of bread and all the toppings, finishing off with the remaining milk and egg mixture.
- Press the mixture down with clean hands until all the bread is soaked. Sprinkle with Mrs.Dash. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top, press again, and refrigerate the strata at least 8 hours or overnight.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 65 – 80 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving. Be careful, the strata will be hot.
- Serves 8 – 10 main size portions, or 15 -20 brunch size servings.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.