What’s my key to hosting brunch, you ask?
Everything’s made and prepped in advance.
With this in mind, here’s my go-to brunch recipe – Sausage and Veggie Breakfast Strata. This dish inherently abides by my “made in advance” rule. You’re literally SUPPOSED to make and prepare it the night before. For those unfamiliar with the strata, it’s a savory bread pudding consisting mostly of bread, cheese, and eggs. My recipe includes sausage and veggies. The addition of cottage cheese provides a slightly creamy texture. Hearty and well balanced. All inclusive … bread, eggs, meat, cheese, veg … all in one dish.
So it’s the morning of. All you have to do is roll out of bed, brew coffee, set out bloody mary fixins, turn on the oven, and enjoy.
You’ve got brunch questions. I’ve got brunch answers. Simple, tasty answers.
- Butter, for greasing baking dish
- 1 loaf day-old Italian bread, crust removed and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups cubed)
- 1 lb sweet breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled into pieces
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess moisture
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 2 cups fontina cheese, freshly grated
- A small handful fresh basil, torn into pieces (about 1/4 cup)
- 12 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half (or milk if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- Butter a 9×13 inch casserole dish, set aside, and reserve.
- In a large bowl, combine cubed bread, cooked sausage, spinach, bell peppers, fontina cheese, and fresh basil. Toss together well until evenly distributed. Pour mixture into buttered casserole dish.
- In another bowl (I used a large measuring cup) whisk eggs until blended. Add the half and half, cottage cheese, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth, then pour over bread mixture in the casserole dish. (Note, not all of the bread will be covered at this point with the egg mixture. This is fine. As the casserole rests, it will absorb the eggs and become covered.)
- Cover the strata/casserole and refrigerate for a few hours or preferably overnight (up to 18 hours).
- Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Let rest. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and bake the strata/casserole, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove cover and cook an additional 15 minutes until custard has set and the top is golden brown. After 1 hour of cooking, if the custard has not set, return the casserole to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Allow casserole to rest for 5 minutes before serving.