Christmas Breakfast Strata

My daughter and granddaughter came for a visit in August.  We had so much fun.  As she was pregnant with her second we felt it was important she experienced time alone with friends to reconnect before things got crazy again. Off she flew to Kelowna one morning to visit an old high school chum. When she returned the next night, she had a new cookbook in tow.

Honestly, my daughter is very up to date and usually works with an app called Mealime. She picks several recipes to cook that week, then clicks a button and it creates her shopping list. These are still all home-cooked meals using only fresh ingredients, but for a busy working mum with a two year old, it has been a life saver. It's unusual for her to want to buy a cookbook.

As looked through her copy of Whitewater Cooks: More Beautiful Food - the 4th or 5th cookbook by chef Shelley Adams - the images and the recipes really popped. I decided to order a copy. While there were several creative ideas here I wanted to try first, I found myself giving their breakfast strata a whirl as I had company coming for a couple days and this would be a huge time saver. 

It turned out delicious, but I honestly think most bread and egg stratas are created equal.  I did love the use of croissants as well as the inclusion of sautéed veggies.  I have put the recipe below as it is in the book, but I am going to make 2 changes next time.  First I will up the amount of veggies a bit to lighten it.  Second I am going to toss all that cheese with the bread cubes instead of putting it in a layer in the middle.  It just didn't really combine.  BUT if you prefer gooey strings of cheese, then make it the original way. I served it simply with cooked breakfast sausage on the side, but fruit salad would also be great. 

Enjoy! And remember, these simple recipes cry out for you to mix it up and make it your own. The options are truly endless. 

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Christmas Breakfast Strata
Serves 4-6 depending on size and what you serve with it. 
Note - you can make a strata any time for any meal.  We had it for lunch.

Ingredients - 

6 med.            Croissants, torn into bite size pieces
1 T                  Butter
2 C                 Veggies chopped (asparagus, mushroom, peppers, spinach, broccoli artichokes, etc.)
6                     Large Eggs
1 C                 Whole Milk or half and half
1/2 tsp            Salt
1/2 tsp            Pepper
1/2 tsp            Nutmeg
1 T                  Fresh Basil, chopped
1/4 C               Green onion, thinly sliced
1 C                  Sharp white cheddar or gruyere cheese, grated
1 C                  Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 C               Parmigiano-reggiano cheese grated (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top)

Instructions - 

Lightly butter a 9 x 13 oval or rectangular oven-proof baking dish. Place half the torn croissants in a single layer in the pan. Set aside. Melt butter in a frying pan and saute veggies until liquid evaporates, about 5 min.  Set aside.  Beat eggs and milk or cream together. Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and basil.  

Pour half the egg mixture over the croissants in the pan slowly drizzling a little evenly over all the bread. Top with the cooked veggies, the green onion and then the grated cheeses. Add the rest of the croissants on top in a single layer.  Pour the rest of the egg mixture slowly over the topping trying to get a little mixture on all the bread pieces.  

NOTE - this made for a really gooey layer of cheese that didn't mix with the eggs.  Next time I am boing to try tossing the cheese with the bread crumbs so it is more evenly spaced throughout and see if I like the final dish better or not.  There is no right or wrong, just what you prefer.

Sprinkle with a little more Parmigiano-reggiano, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator over night. The next day set the casserole on the counter and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 25o-50 minutes until eggs have set and the top is lightly browned.