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baked breakfast strata with spinach, mushrooms and cheese in casserole dish f
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5 from 7 votes

Breakfast Strata (with great fillings)

The essence of a breakfast strata is eggs, milk, cheese and bread. The personality comes from great fillings - choose the ones you like. Assemble the night before. Pop the casserole in the oven the next day for a great comfort food dish.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 8
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

Core ingredients

  • 8 cups bread, any kind, cut into 1 inch cubes (3/4 large loaf, 11-12 slices, 12 ounces)
  • 8 -10 large eggs (about 2 cups)
  • 2 3/4 cups (660ml) milk or half and half cream (or any combination of the two)
  • 1 1/2 cup (125g) grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (41g) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Seasonings

  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Fillings (choose 2-3), Note 1

  • 10 ounce package chopped frozen spinach; 1 large onion; 8 -10 breakfast sausage links; 8 slices bacon; 2 cups diced cooked ham; 16 ounces mushrooms chopped; 1/2 cup green onion chopped.

Instructions

  • PREPARE PANS: Butter or spray with oil one 9x13 inch (3 quart) dish or two 8x8 (2 quart) pans.
  • PREPARE FILLINGS: Choose 2-3 options. For vegetarian strata, I use spinach, onions, mushrooms. For meat-based, I use sausage, onions, spinach. 
    Spinach: Defrost and squeeze water out using hands or paper towels. Get as much water out as possible. 
    Onions: Dice or process onion. Saute in 2 teaspoons oil on medium until translucent (or cook 25-30 minutes, stirring, to caramelize, adding 1/2 teaspoon sugar to speed up caramelization). Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
    Mushroooms: Saute in butter or oil for 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.
    Sausage: Pan fry or grill until no longer pink. Cut into small pieces. Or remove from casings and saute ground sausage until cooked.
    Bacon: Fry or microwave. Or bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes. Crumble.
    Green Onions or Ham: Chop. No need to cook.
  • PREPARE CORE INGREDIENTS: Cut bread (with or without crusts) into 1 inch cubes. Measure 8 cups packed. Place in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and all seasonings. Grate cheeses.
  • ASSEMBLE AND REFRIGERATE: Add to large bowl with bread: the egg-milk-seasoning mixture; the vegetable filling; and cheeses (reserving 1/2 cup cheese to sprinkle on top). Mix lightly to combine well. Pour into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle on remaining cheese. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (1 hour is better) or overnight.
  • BAKE AND SERVE: Heat oven to 350F/176.7C. Remove strata from fridge. Uncover and bake for 40-50 minutes until puffed and golden brown on top - and just until the center doesn't jiggle when you shake the pan. Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean. If using a slightly bigger pan, bake 5-10 minutes less as strata will be thinner. Don't overbake as the strata will become dry. Serve warm. Garnish with sour cream if desired.

Notes

  1. Fillings: Other filling options include peppers, cherry tomatoes, cooked ham, asparagus. All fillings should be cooked except asparagus (which will have enough time to cook in the oven if not too thick) and green onions. Crumbled goat cheese can be added as well (about 1/2 cup).
  2. Make Ahead: Baked breakfast strata can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. Strata can be frozen, covered, for up to 3 months. Defrost on the counter before baking or overnight in the fridge. 
 
Nutrition Value estimates are for the basic strata without the fillings. The nutrition values for the fillings will depend on which you choose. 
Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 203mg | Sodium: 1049mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 609IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 523mg | Iron: 3mg