It’s a week overdue, but hey, I’m a busy girl. I got stuff to do – like flying on a bar 30 feet off the ground and learning how to jump on a trampoline without landing on my head. That’s what most 34 year olds do with their time, right? Regardless of my attempts to break my own neck, I promised the savory of the brunch menu recipes, and I shall deliver.
I’m not a big egg eater, but I had to balance out the blueberry
dessert breakfast casserole with some protein. I found this recipe on 2 separate blogs and both sung its praises, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. I mean, if it’s on TWO blogs, it has to be good, right? Abso-freakin-loutely. I added chicken sausage and mushrooms, but otherwise followed the recipe. The best part about this recipe is, like the french toast, you can and should make it the night before and bake it while enjoying your coffee, mimosas, and guests in the morning.
Cut or tear the bread into bite sized pieces. I managed to forget to take pictures of the egg part. I’m sure you can go out on a limb and imagine what beaten eggs in a bowl look like. It’s important to exercise your creative brain like that.
Ready for the oven. The recipe says to put it in a 3 quart casserole. I don’t have one, so I used a 5 qt. saute pan. Maybe I used too much bread, but I don’t think it would have fit in a 3 qt. dish. Bake, eat, love.
I don’t know what compelled me to make a 3rd dish, but this is so easy, there’s no reason not to.
Spinach and Cheese Strata
(adapted from smittenkitchen.com/Gourmet)
Serves 6 to 8
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
1 lb italian sausage (I used mild)
1 C. chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Add the sausage and mushrooms if using. Cook until sausage is no longer pink inside. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.
Spread one third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of bread cubes,one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese.
Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for eat least 8 hours or up to a day.
The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Zucchini, Feta & Ricotta Tart
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup feta (crumbled)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
(I used an orange, I didn’t have a lemon, it was still good)
1/4 cup herbs (such as dill, mint, parsley, chopped)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastry (thawed according to the packages directions)
1 large zucchini (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Mix the ricotta, feta, lemon, herbs, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2. Roll the puff pastry out to a 16×10 inch rectangle.
3. Score a line around the puff pastry 1 inch from the edge.
4. Spread the ricotta mixture over the center of the dough.
5. Arrange the zucchini slices in a single layer on top of the ricotta mixture.
6. Brush the outside inch of the pastry with the oil.
7. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until the zucchini is tender and the pastry is golden brown, about 15-25 minutes.