4.23.2012

Mangia Mondays:: Egg Stratas

Welcome back to another addition of Mangia Mondays, the food blog hop I co-host with Kristin of Delightfully Dowling.  Join us for recipe sharing, restaurant sharing, kitchen tip sharing - anything food-related goes!

We had a wonderful weekend away for the wedding.  I'm still trying to edit all my pictures and get my kiddos off to school a bit late after all the craziness and late nights!  I'll share some of the highlights later but for today I want to continue with the brunch theme for any of you that might be hosting Mother's Day or a bridal or baby shower in the near future!  Check out the recipes for Blueberry Lemon Cake and White Sangria if you missed them.

For our Easter brunch, I made two egg stratas.  A strata is basically a casserole with sliced bread saturated with an egg mixture, then baked.  Stratas are perfect for a brunch because you can make them up to 24 hours in advance, and they are hearty and compliment a lot of other brunch foods like ham and fruit salad.  {Please use your imagination for "after" photos - apparently I was a bit busy on Easter Sunday and forgot to take them!}

A side note:  keep these casseroles in mind for next Easter because they require a lot of eggs, so you can buy white eggs and dye the shells.  We used our dyed shells as little flower vases at each place setting, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is to gently crack the top of the egg with a knife and pour out the contents for cooking.  I saved the shells from three dozen eggs in the weeks leading up to Easter and the cousins had so much fun decorating them on Easter Saturday.  So much easier than blowing out eggs (but that is good fun too!)

First up for stratas:


Ingredients:
8 strips of bacon
12 slices white bread (I used "Texas Toast" style bread that has wide slices)
1 bunch (2 cups) asparagus
9 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:
*Spray 9x13" casserole dish with cooking spray.
*Cook bacon until crispy; drain and crumble.  Cube bread into 1" pieces.  Trim the woody ends of asparagus and cut into 1" pieces, then blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water; drain.
*Layer bread, bacon and asparagus in casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.
*Whisk together eggs, milk and half and half; add dry mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture over bread evenly.
*Cover with plastic wrap and gently press down on top of strata so all bread cubes are in egg mixture.
*Cover and chill for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
*Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.  Slice into squares to serve.


After I made the Bacon, Asparagus and Cheddar Strata, the phone rang and I started chatting with my friend while preparing the French Toast Strata.  Oooops!.....I started cubing the bread without thinking.  This strata looks pretty and is served easily if you keep the slices of French bread intact, so don't cube them like I did for the first strata.  This simple French Toast Strata is a big hit with the kids - I omit the Praline Topping because I'm pretty sure my kids get enough sugar from the maple syrup they douse it in!   (adapted from foodnetwork.com)
Ingredients - Strata:
1 loaf French bread (13-16 oz.)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash of salt
Praline Topping if desired
maple syrup for serving

Directions
*Slice Frech bread into 1" slices.  
*Butter 9x13" casserole dish.  Arrange bread slices in dish, overlapping slightly.  
* Whisk together eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
*Pour egg mixture over bread slices evenly.
*Cover with plastic wrap and press down on bread gently to tops with egg mixture.
*Cover and chill 2-24 hours.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Top strata with Praline Topping, if using, and bake for 40 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden.  Cut between the rows and across the slices to serve.  

Ingredients - Praline Topping:
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:
Combine ingredients and blend well.  


I hope you enjoy these brunch recipes as much as we do!

What have you been cooking up lately?  Join the party and share your goodies, and have a happy week ahead!

9 comments:

Aimee said...

THanks for hosting!! I love brunch, especially when it's something sweet!

Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com said...

Yum! I always love brunch and egg casseroles. I don't like plain eggs, but in a casserole, they are so good.

cestMoi Sandy said...

As always looks delicious!

Have a lovely week.

Sandy

Ange said...

Yummy! I will be right over to consume all of this with you. Great idea with the eggs too, they look so cute! Glad you had a fun weekend!

Moore or Less Cooking said...

Lisa,

Happy Easter! Your kids are gorgeous, Your eggs are beautiful, and your Strata's look so delicious, I have to try them. I have never made one, I know, I can't believe it!! I have linked up my Clam Linguine to your wonderful party! It is always so wonderful seeing you Lisa! I know your family will spoil you rotten on Mother's Day because you are an amazing Mom! <3 Nettie

Privet and Holly said...

Looks delicious and
I'm sure are just as
tasty!

Love the programs
that you made and I
bet you all had a blast
at the wedding! I love
weddings, especially
the dancing : ) !!

Happy Monday,
xo Suzanne

Dana Frieling@ Make Them Wonder said...

I have a go-to strata, but I'm excited to try your recipe. Just pinned your first one. Yum!

Carmel @ Our Fifth House said...

Oh yum! I always make strata for Christmas morning - I really want to try one of these recipes!

Jennifer L. Griffin said...

Yum...wish I had one of these ready and waiting for breakfast tomorrow! Must try them both!