Bacon and Spinach Strata

The holidays are a hustle and bustle time of year. From shopping and cooking to decorating the house to making cookies, the last two months of the year always fly’s due to the constant list of to-dos! One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is my Breakfast Strata. I especially LOVE making this dish because it’s a “make a head” dish and super simple. Trust me there is nothing like waking up and popping this sucker in the oven and 45 minutes later you have a perfectly cooked well balanced breakfast…. without slaving over the stove. I mean, you will be doing enough of that any way.. am I right?

A breakfast strata is also always a winner at office potlucks as well. Everyone usually brings lunch items so bringing in a breakfast item is always welcomed.

There are also HUNDREDS of variations to a Breakfast Strata. Below is my signature strata instructions and I’ll offer you some variations at the end.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter

  • Olive oil

  • 1 Loaf Challah Bread unsliced (2-3 days old)

  • 16 Eggs

  • 1/2 block of cream cheese room temperature

  • 2 hand fulls of spinach cleaned and patted dry

  • 1 medium onion

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 1 package of good bacon

  • 1 cup shredded sharpe cheddar

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

  • Salt and Pepper

Step 1

First things first. Grease a 13×9 casserole dish with the 1/2 stick of butter. Set aside.

Step 2

Get to cutting…. My husband and I enjoy cooking as chefs do. Organized. We find that if you do all your cutting up front it makes the cooking process go much smoother. If you do not own ramekins, I suggest asking Santa for some! In the mean time any bowls you have will serve the same purpose of housing each chopped ingredient separate. Start with the bread and cut into 2 inch cubes. Place the cubed bread in your greased baking dish. Fill to the top but not over flowing. Dice the bacon into one inch cubes, place in a ramekin/bowl and set aside. Cut the onion in half and then slice it into thin strips, place in a separate ramekin/bowl and set aside. Slice the garlic into thin slices… and… you get the drift, set aside in a ramekin/bowl…

Step 3

Prepare your mix-ins. In a medium sauté pan heat 1 tbs of olive oil and 1 tbs of butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft and golden. About 10 minutes. Drain onions on a paper towel and set a side to cool. Next heat up another 1-2 tbs of olive oil in the sauté pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach along with some salt and pepper and stir constantly for about 4 minutes until spinach is limp but not mushy. Set aside on a plate to cool. Next cook the bacon in the sauté pan, no oil or bacon necessary for obvious reasons… Cook the bacon until light golden brown and pay attention. DO NOT BURN THE BACON. Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel and set aside to cool.

Step 4

On to the eggs! After all it is the main attraction to the strata! Crack all the eggs into a large bowl. Add the milk, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Then add in the cream cheese, I’d suggest slicing the cream cheese in with a butter knife so that its not one large lumps. Next take a hand mixer, I’d suggest a hand mixer because it’s much more pliable to mix this up vs a stand up mixer. If you don’t own a mixer a whisk and some elbow grease will do the trick. Mix up real good. Note the cream cheese will look a bit lump. There is no making it disintegrate. It will serve as delicious little cheese morsels in your strata.

Step 5

Put it all together now….Start by adding your mix-ins. I always start with the garlic spinach. Start spreading your sautéed leaves over the cubed bread, and then the same for the caramelized onions. Next sprinkle the cooked bacon and then the grated cheese. Next you will slowly pour the egg mixture evenly all over your ingredients. Next cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight.

Step 6

The next morning preheat the oven to 350 degrees and take “her” out of the refrigerator. Leave the foil on. Let her sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes and then put her in the oven for 45 minutes, covered in the foil! Once the 45 minutes is up take the foil off and put her back in for 5 minutes. Then let her rest about 10 minutes OR until you are ready to enjoy… Strata can be eaten at room temperature.

img_2367

Variations to this recipe:

Size: In lieu of 13 x 9 glass dish you can use individual small aluminum foil pans or any other dish you desire. In fact I typically use the small loafs for my husband and son when I make this dish for a pot luck. It works great as well for the PICKY eater as you can omit certain ingredients that may be considered “yucky”…..insert eye roll.

Ingredients: Get creative. You do not have to only use challah bread… I’ve done this with sour dough and mountain loaf before. Additionally below are several variations on the toppings. Omit from recipe above the spinach, onions, bacon, and cheddar cheese and substitute the below:

Alternate 1:

  • Whole wheat bread unsliced

  • Breakfast Sausage

  • 2 medium sized applies

  • Sharpe yellow cheese

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tbs white sugar

** Cube the whole wheat bread and place in your greased pan. Sauté the breakfast sausage in a tsp of butter and set aside to drain and cool. Core and peel the apples and then cube them into 1 inch cubes and then toss with the cinnamon and sugar. In a small sauce pan heat the apple mixture until warm and then set a side to cool. Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside. Once all is cool assemble continue on with Step 4 above. Modify step 5 based on your mix-ins. Lastly finish with Step 6.

Alternate 2:

  • Italian loaf of bread unsliced

  • 4 1 inch slices of pancetta

  • 1pt cherry tomatoes

  • 1 tbs sliced garlic

  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Olive oil

  • 10 basil leaves

**Cube the Italian bread and place in your greased pan. Slice the basil leaves and grate your parmesan cheese and set aside in separate ramekins. Toss the tomatoes with 2tbs olive oil, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, once done set them aside to cool.  While your tomatoes are roasting sauté your pancetta until golden, set aside to drain and cool. Once all is cool assemble continue on with Step 4 above. Modify step 5 based on your mix-ins. Lastly finish with Step 6.

Alternate 3:

  • Whole Wheat or Multigrain loaf of bread unsliced

  • Crimini or baby bella mushrooms

  • Small yellow onion

  • Red pepper

  • Gouda Cheese

  • Olive oil

**Cube the bread and place in your greased pan. Slice mushrooms, chop the onion and red pepper and grate your gouda cheese and set aside in separate ramekins. Saute your veggies in olive oil. Once all is cool assemble continue on with Step 4 above. Modify step 5 based on your mix-ins. Lastly finish with Step 6.

 

I really hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let me know how your strata comes out and what if any ingredients you switched up!

xo,

Liz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s