Spinach and Egg Strata

When the alarm screams at 5:00 a.m. each morning to rattle me awake me for a day of teaching, I usually concoct a quick smoothie for breakfast that I slurp on the drive to work, for I need each precious minute to grade assignments and plan lessons rather than take time to make fancy fare.

The weekends are a totally different routine, though. Time is a gift on weekends, and I peruse the array of collected recipes, ready to experiment.

One of my more successful trials was the Spinach and Egg Strata (according to cookthink.com, a strata is a like a bread pudding casserole made with eggs, cheese, and stale cubed bread). For this particular recipe, I had all the ingredients on hand, and it was an easy solution to using up some of the leftover bread that tends to collect in the back of the fridge, like the last unused hamburger bun or the end pieces of sliced bread that neither hubby nor I like. From now on, I think I will freeze all those extra bits of bread and use them for stratas.

I didn’t let the ingredients meld overnight as per recipe; nonetheless, the savory flavors of the herbs and cheeses as well as the fresh taste of spinach and basil shined through. I used individual 6-inch ramekins, which produced a hearty portion. Smaller ramekins would probably create more manageable amounts for one person, though.

Sidenote: The original recipe calls for two 4-inch ramekins and states the recipe makes two. However, I used two 6-inch ramekins and still had leftover bread mixture, which I used to bake one more strata the following day. So I would say this makes three 6-inch ramekins or probably four 4-inch ramekins.

I used multigrain sandwich bread which added a nutty flavor and texture. I also added fresh basil leaves which brightened the overall dish. And I used fresh spinach from our garden.

Overall, this recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients yet it packs a punch in terms of savory herb flavorings and a tangy cheese kick all hidden within the folds of a french-toast like texture from the mix of bread and eggs. “Yum” sums up this Spinach and Egg Strata, and it now ranks tops in my weekend breakfast fare.

Spinach and Egg Strata

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pieces of bread
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 4 large leaves of basil (not part of original recipe)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1 /2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano (I used 1/2 tsp. dried oregano)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (I used cheddar cheese)
  • sprinkle of parmesan cheese (not part of original recipe)

DIRECTIONS

  1. The night before, tear up and mix bread, spinach, and basil. Place in two 4-inch ramekins.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, oregano, pepper, and salt. Pour over bread mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with parmesan, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and let sit overnight.
  3. In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and cover each ramekin with aluminum foil. Place ramekins on a sheet tray and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove foil and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until egg mixture has set and casserole has puffed (my puffed casserole caved slightly after a few minutes). Serve warm.

SOURCE: slightly adapted from Naturally Ella