Savory Breakfast Strata

It’s a snowy day here in the Metroplex, which is an event that is truly a rarity for us here in North Texas.  It began snowing this morning around 11, and hasn’t stopped yet.  The weathermen here are predicting we’ll get around 3 or 4 inches, but I’ll believe it when I see it.  When they cancel school tomorrow, THEN I’ll believe that we’ve had a real winter storm.  Until then…

The cold weather was a good excuse to whip up something warm and stick to your ribs delicious, so I decided to make a breakfast strata.  Strata are casseroles typically made with chunks of bread, an egg custard base, cheese and vegetables or meat (or both).  I decided to convert a series of recipes I’d seen for strata that used full-fat ingredients into one that was more on the healthy side, and that was egg allergy-friendly.  Here was the result:

Chock full o' whole grains, dairy and vegetables...can't go wrong with this one! And it's really easy to make too.

Here’s how I did it.  You will need:

  • 1 cup Egg Beaters (or your favorite egg substitute)
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 4-5 slices whole wheat bread (I used 2 large store-made whole wheat hamburger buns, which I think would equal this much bread)
  • 10 ounces cooked Jimmy Dean reduced fat pork sausage, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • cooking spray
  • optional:  paprika

In a skillet, cook the sausage and crumble it as you cook it.  You will notice that since it is super lean, it will render very little fat.  Also, cook your broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap for 2 minutes.  When the broccoli has finished cooking, remove it from the microwave and remove the plastic wrap so that it cools quickly.

Slice your bread into smaller pieces and layer them in a 2-quart baking dish which you have sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the Egg  Beaters, milk, pepper and 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Once these items have been thoroughly combined, pour them over the bread in the baking dish.  Distribute the cooled broccoli over the bread-egg base and allow this to sit for 20 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Once the casserole has had an opportunity to rest a bit, sprinkle the sausage over top of the base, and then sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over this.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes have passed, remove the foil and let the strata cook for 30 more minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow the strata to sit for 10 minutes to firm up a bit before cutting into it and serving.

This recipe makes 6 pretty good sized servings.  We had enough for leftovers for tomorrow’s breakfast…hopefully we’ll be able to sleep in tomorrow if the roads are icy and school is cancelled!

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