Magazine article Sunset

The Cheese-Bread-and-Eggs Make-Ahead Casserole

Magazine article Sunset

The Cheese-Bread-and-Eggs Make-Ahead Casserole

Article excerpt

What's in a name? These make-ahead (8 to 36 hours) breakfast, brunch, lunch, or supper casseroles may be called stratas, fondues, puffs, or overnight casseroles, but they are all essentially the same. You start by fitting layers (strata) of bread, cheese, and other ingredients snugly in a baking dish; saturating them with eggs and milk; and letting the dish stand so the liquid soaks in. Baked, the dishes are consistently moist and creamy.

The combination is flexible, with many opportunities for variations that each create a new dish. The first variables are the bread and cheese. Here we make use of dark pumpernickel with jarlsberg, sourdough with mozzarella, rye with Swiss, and whole wheat with cheddar.

Like sandwich fillings, good-tasting elements such as sardines and dill, sausage and salsa, sauerkraut and corned beet or a mixture of vegetables all pair quite readily with these specific bread-andcheese combinations.

Norwegian Strata

About 1 lo& (1-lb. size) thinly sliced

dense-textured dark pumpernickel bread

1 pound jarlsberg cheese, shredded

3 Cans (33/4 oz. each, 28 to 38 count)

small sardines

6 large eggs

2 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and

dry dill weed

1 medium-size red onion, minced

Sour cream, optional

Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Line bottom snugly with a single layer of bread, cut to fit (edges can overlap slightly). Make another layer of bread to fit on top, then lift out and set aside.

Sprinkle half the cheese over the bread in the dish. Arrange half the sardines in 2 rows on top of the cheese. Cover with the reserved bread slices, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and arrange remaining sardines in 2 rows on top of it.

Beat eggs, milk, nutmeg, and dill weed until blended; pour over casserole, moistening entire surface. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 or up to 36 hours. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 [degrees] oven until edges of casserole are lightly browned and center is firm when gently touched, about 40 minutes. Cool 15 minutes on a rack. Sprinkle some onion onto strata. Cut into rectangles and offer with remaining onion and sour cream to add to taste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving: 547 cal; 38 g protein; 37g carbo.; 28g fat; 326 mg chol.; 761 mg sodium.

Mexican Pizza Casserole

Use canned or bottled salsa, which is cooked, rather than refrigerated salsas.

1 pound bulk pork sausage

About 1 loaf (1 -lb. size, cut into 1/2

inch-thick slices) sourdough bread, crusts trimmed

1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 cups canned mild red salsa

6 large eggs

3 cups milk

Parsley sprigs

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble and brown meat evenly, about 8 minutes; drain off the fat and discard; set meat aside.

Butter a 9- by )3-inch baking dish. Line bottom snugly with a single layer of bread, cut to fit (edges can overlap slightly). Make another layer of bread to fit on top, then lift out and set aside.

Sprinkle bread with half the cheese, then pour I cup of salsa over cheese, and scatter half the sausage over salsa. Cover with the reserved bread slices; repeat to make top layer.

Beat eggs and milk until blended and pour over casserole, moistening top evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 to 36 hours. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 [degrees] oven until edges of casserole are browned and center is firm when gently touched, about 50 minutes. …

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