Last night was my sister's 30th birthday party. We (of course) ended up back at our house for a long night of Rock Band and I-Don't-Know-What-Kaliis-Put-In-This-Drink-But-Okay. Good times.
Inspired by my friend Other Holly, who makes one for New Year's Day to feed the hungover crash crowd, I made a breakfast strata. I am the only one awake, and I'm eating it right now. It's delicious. The best part is that you make it a day ahead, so all you have to do is stumble to the kitchen when you wake up and pop it in the oven. It's cheap, and it feeds a crowd. I think I'm going to put this into semi-regular breakfast rotation - I notoriously hate cooking breakfast, but if I'm prepping it the day before and I can sit and drink coffee and read the Huff Post while it bakes? Awesome.
Strata, like many things that I post about, has a basic recipe that you can tweak to your tastes. Here's how I did it;
8 lg eggs
2 c milk
2 c -or so- shredded cheese
1 loaf of bread, cubed
2 c diced ham
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp italian seasoning
Beat the eggs, milk and seasonings together, set aside. Butter or spray a 9 x 12 pan, then layer half the bread, half the ham, half the cheese. Repeat. Pour the egg mixture all over the bread etc., cover, and pop in the fridge overnight. This lets the bread properly absorb all the egg batter, but you can kind of fake it if you're doing this last minute by tossing the bread cubes with the egg mixture and letting it sit for about 10 minutes before you put it in the oven.
The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about an hour, until the top is nice and crusty and the center is cooked through.
You can swap out the seasonings, the kind of cheese, meat or veggies at will - as long as the egg batter and bread ratio stay the same. You can make this without cheese as well, but why would you do that I mean come on.
browned crumbled sausage
spinach and fresh garlic
chopped, cooked potato or hash browns
onion and pepper
.....basically anything that you would throw in an omelet, throw it in here! If you'd rather go sweet over savory, then may I suggest a teaspoon of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract? You end up with baked french toast! Delicious with maple syrup. You can throw in dried fruit, chopped apples, a handful of berries or what have you for a little something extra. My friend Chris got me in to topping my french toast with a dollop of lemon-zested sour cream along with the maple syrup, and it's surprisingly excellent.
Ok, now to double-fist another cup of coffee/glass of ice water. Cheers!