Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bacon and Cheese Strata

A couple days ago I posted those easy caramel pecan sticky rolls. And I was so excited because I submitted them to foodgawker and they helped me get to my first time viewing number of over 250!! Before that, I had an all time one day blog viewing number of 65, so you can imagine how excited I was to see a number of 100, 200, 300! Thank you foodgawker and pinterest! (I even now have an official "foodgawker" logo on the side of my blog.) I'm feeling pretty legit today folks! Well today I am presenting another fabulous brunch recipe for you to make for those holiday breakfasts that are fast approaching. It's perfect for those overnight holiday guests.  (I should know, I am one every holiday!)  This one is for those savory at heart- a bacon and cheese strata. A what-a? A strata!  A strata if you are unfamiliar is a layered breakfast casserole of scrumptious items like bread, eggs, and cheese.  Think savory bread pudding.

This dish is extremely versatile as well.  It adapts well to adding in whatever meats, cheese, herbs, and veggies you feel like adding in or happen to have on hand.  It's a great pantry clean out recipe.  I happen to have bacons and onion to add in, Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses to sprinkle on, and fresh thyme that was rapidly approaching its expiration date.  (Let me tell you, though, the fresh earthy thyme gave this dish that little something extra to it)

Ok so this dish was adapted from a cooking light recipe.  Yeah, ok I totally took the light out of this recipe.  You can definitely put it back in if you want to feel a little less guilty this holiday season.  You could use turkey bacon.  You could add in some vegetables.  You could use egg substitute or egg whites. could not and do what I did which was say bring on the full fat comfort food version!

Bacon and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Cooking Light
*  1 loaf of French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)                 
*  2 tablespoons butter
*  2 cups chopped onion
*  Cooking spray
*  1 1/2 cups cheese (I used Monterey jack and cheddar)
*  8 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
*  3 cups low-fat milk
*  12 eggs
*  2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
*  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
*  1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Arrange bread in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toasted. 
3. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
4. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions to pan and sauté for 10 minutes or until tender.
5.  Add onion mixture to bread and toss well to combine.
6.  Arrange half of bread mixture in a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
7.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the bacon.  Top with remaining bread mixture, cheese, and bacon.
8.  Combine milk and the next 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.  Pour milk mixture over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours (or overnight).
9.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
10.  Remove strata from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Bake strata, covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until set.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


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