Do-ahead egg dishes for the holiday
Make your holiday brunch or dinner a breeze
Make-ahead strata: Easier than souffles, less hands-on than pancakes and more forgiving than omelets, a puffy, moist breakfast strata is an easy dish to make. (Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune)
Note: Smoky ham paired with mild or spicy Italian sausage taste great in this recipe. So does pork chorizo mixed with the bacon.
3 thick slices bacon, diced
12 ounces reduced-fat bulk breakfast sausage, removed from casing
½ large sweet onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, diced
2 tablespoons each, chopped fresh: parsley, chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups of 1-inch bread cubes cut from dense, artisan-style French or Italian bread with crusts
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar or smoked Gouda cheese
5 large eggs
1 ½ cups skim milk
1 cup half-and-half
½ teaspoon salt
Chopped fresh parsley and chives for garnish
1. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon and reserve. Add sausage and onion to the bacon drippings. Cook, breaking sausage into small pieces with a wooden spatula, until sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat; stir in roasted red pepper. Cool.
2. Stir bacon, parsley, chives, oregano and pepper flakes into cooled sausage mixture. Put half of the bread cubes into a well-buttered 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with half of the sausage mixture, then half of the cheese. Repeat to use up remaining bread, sausage mixture and cheese.