Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dinner on the farm - Stratas

My 1st Ham and Zucchini Strata
before baking
I like to make things that burst with many different flavors in each bite. That isn't an easy accomplishment. I also love dressing made with hearty whole grain breads and real chicken broths and bread pudding with raisins and cinnamon made with left over bread.

So when I ran across this type of dish I knew I had to try it. Seems like Stratas are once again gaining popularity and I am glad to bring a basic recipe to you. Of course our recipes are healthier versions and good!

I must admit I got a little excited the first time and mushed my meat and bread ingredients together like you would dressing, but the true Strata is layered bread, meat mixture then cheese and repeated hence the name Strata. My first one came out just fine and quite delicious. They are very forgiving, you almost cannot mess up, not to mention healthy cheap eats for a family!

Strata's are great to use leftover bread, those little bits of cheese you have left and whatever else you may desire to throw in. They are quick to fix but take a while to bake. They slice easily, and leftovers can be wrapped individually. They also freeze well.


Strata

1 c. meat (chopped chicken, brisket, ham, sausage, etc)
1 c or so Onion, bell pepper, celery, your choice.
8 c stale whole grain bread
8 eggs
2 c milk
cheese


Saute the meat mixture with the veggies in 1tlb olive oil. Set aside.

Spray a 13x9 casserole dish with non stick.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs and milk until thoroughly mixed. Add in the bread and toss or mix until the bread has soaked up all the liquid. You can season this mixture if you want with herbs and pepper. I don't use salt

Layer 1/2 of the bread mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread 1/2 of your meat and veggie mixture on top and add the cheese. I usually used 6 slices of a low fat or 2% cheese but you could also use shredded mozzarella, also a low fat cheese.

Repeat the layers with the bread mixture, meat mixture and a little more cheese if you choose. Usually I just add the cheese in the first layer.

Let this mixture sit several hours before baking. You can make it the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the bread to soak up the eggs and milk and also allows the flavors to blend.

Bake 375 for 40-60 minutes

Enjoy!

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