In the past, we’ve made several variations of quiches and frittatas for breakfast and brunch get-togethers but Erin thought we should try something different this past weekend. Similar to a frittata or a quiche, this casserole has an egg base with several other ingredients to make an all-in-one meal.
4 1/2 cups French Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 cup Broccoli Florets
1 1/2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
3 cups Milk
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
4 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1 tsp. Basil, chopped
Place cubed bread in a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Top bread with 1 cup cheddar cheese, tomatoes, broccoli and 1 tbsp. parsley.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over break and gently press to soak every cube. Add dollops of ricotta over top of dish. Sprinkle strata with basil and remaining cheddar cheese. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Remove strata from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (about 1 hour).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Bake until strata is puffed and lightly golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving and garnish with remaining parsley.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Think of this as a breakfast bread pudding; warm, rich, filling, and delicious! This was a huge hit at this past weekend’s brunch and was the first dish that was gone. There’s always room for a hot casserole-type dish whether your hosting or going to someone’s house; this recipe was very good and will definitely be used again for our breakfast/brunch outings.
This variation had several kinds of vegetables but it would be very easy to mix it up – you could make the same recipe with spinach and feta, or with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, or really any other variation that your family likes. In this variation, we didn’t add meat to keep the dish kosher, but it would be very easy to add breakfast sausage or chicken to really make this a one dish breakfast.
For the cuts that can be made, you can always use Egg Beaters or Egg Whites (the kind that come in the pre-made container) that contain almost no calories, fat or carbs but still have protein, you can use fat-free milk or fat-free half and half, you can always use reduced fat cheeses, and you can even find whole grain French bread at grocery stores like Balducci’s or Whole Foods.
Regardless whether or not you make a couple calorie cuts, this dish is an easy way to prepare for a meal if you’re having company or even if you’d like to sleep in a little longer since all the prep work is done the night before. Enjoy the idea and share your family’s variations!