Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Brunch

Have I ever mentioned how much I love to cook? I have so much fun trying out new foods and experimenting! For most things I make I think about where I've had something similar, like eating out somewhere, and then try to imagine the tastes I experienced. That gives me ideas for things to throw in my meals. A couple nights ago I tried making Italian Strata for the first time. I love any kind of Strata and was so happy with the way it came out. I just had to share my method with everyone!


Things you'll need:
  • Eggs (You can use real eggs but for a healthier choice use a carton or two of Egg Beaters)
  • Italian bread cut into slices that are less than an inch thick
  • Milk (Skim or 2% for a more low fat meal)
  • Veggies~see my list of variations below for ideas!
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Basil (fresh or a dried seasoning, either one works)
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Optional: breakfast meat or chopped ham
  • Cheese~see list of variations below
Preparations:

1. Start by spraying an olive oil spray in the bottom of glass pan or casserole dish.

2. Line the bottom of the pan with the bread slices.

3. In a large bowl empty 1.5-2 cartons of egg beaters~I just guess at mine by using the pan size as a guide. Start with the lower amount of eggs then you can always add more.

4. Pour in about half a cup of milk so the mixture will cook up nice and fluffy.

5. Add pepper, oregano, basil, parsley and any other seasons you like and mix well.

6. When adding cheese to the mix use more than you think you need if you are working with store bought shredded cheese. The reason for this is that store bought cheese is usually grated very finely and when it cooks for so long it pretty much evaporates and you won't taste it.

7. Chop veggies and/or meats you have chosen. Usually one bag, fresh or frozen, of something like broccoli works well. This dish is very versatile and can be altered for your personal taste. Add however much or little of these things that your family likes.

8. Place the veggies and meats evenly over the bread slices.

9. Ladle egg mixture on top of the veggies so that everything doesn't float to the top leaving you with a layer of just plain egg.

10. Cover the top with a thin layer of shredded cheese. When the dish cooks this will make a nice light brown crispy crust on top.

Cover the Strata and let set for 3-24 hours in the refrigerator. When you are ready to bake it preheat the over to 350. Cook for 45 minutes with it covered in foil and then uncover it to bake for another 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy! You'll know its done when the top is slightly browned and the middle doesn't giggle with raw eggs anymore.

Variations: Choose a few things from one group or mix and match! But, adding sausage or bacon will give a more breakfast taste to the Strata. The rest of these options work well for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.

Veggies--
Broccoli
Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Onions
Asparagus
Zucchini

Cheeses--
Fontina (my favorite because of how well it melts...great for all Italian meals)
Mozzarella
Cheddar
Parmesan
Romano

Meats--
Ham (chopped into small pieces)
Turkey sausage
Turkey bacon
(using turkey instead of regular meat is a healthier choice)

Why Strata is great for the "new" or busy mom:
*Its so easy! Prep time is really only about 10 minutes. The most time consuming thing will be sitting around while it cooks :)
*Its so versatile! You can serve it for a family dinner and everyone will be full and satisfied or you can serve it when out of town guests come for breakfast.
*Its healthy! Well, you can make or break that with what "extras" you put in but basically this meal is very high in protein and low in fat/carbs.


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8 comments:

My Army Brats and Me said...

Cute blog. Glad I ran across it. Happy Fathers Day.

Cher said...

that looks...amazing! Just stopping by from SITS to say hi!

Ginee Scabrough said...

looks good, but I hate hate to cook or is it hate hate to clean up? or hate hate people who complain about my cooking? I don't know... wish they would do it themselves.

Margaret said...

I think I just might try that:) I've been trying to collect some new recipes!

Jacqueline said...

Thank you ladies! I'm glad you all stopped by!

Let me know how it turns out Margaret! The best thing about this is that its so easy to make it personalized for what your family likes. As long as they can eggs, anyone can love Strata. Its perfect since you guys just moved too. Not a lot of work goes into it :P

Ashley said...

mm that sounds yummy!

New Girl on Post said...

It sounds amazing and looks delish!

Madison said...

Mmmm sounds fab-u-luss. I will have to try it sometime.