Savoury Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Strata

Breakfast Strata 1

Breakfast has long been a favourite meal of mine, as long as it involves a lazy morning, coffee and a savoury meal.  I am not one for pancakes, waffles or anything sweet – but put a plate of eggs, hash browns and bacon on the table and I am happy.

My girlfriend had us over for brunch a while back and when we were arrived, we were greeted by the smells of an amazing strata.  When we sat down to eat, it was warm, comforting and delicious and reminded me how good a strata could be.  I love that strata’s are a little work to prepare ahead of time, but they are perfect for company and gatherings, as they are fairly hands-off once in the oven.  They also reheat beautifully, so it would be a great option for those quick weekday breakfasts too, if you are organized enough on a Sunday to prep it.

One of my friends in Vancouver recently had a sweet baby girl and although we cooked up a storm before her arrival and stocked her freezer, I still loved bringing her meals every time I visited, just to make her life a little easier. She loves all things breakfast (sweet things too – which you will see in a future post!), so I combined a few recipes and brought this strata one Saturday morning when my Mom and I visited her.  It definitely won the praises of all who enjoyed it.  It is hearty, savoury and just perfect for a weekend brunch, and if you are lucky, leftovers for the week.

If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing, impressive brunch item, this is it.   You can also spoil those you love and make it for a weekday breakfast, but be careful as it will be requested, again and again.

Be well and enjoy!


Breakfast Strara 2

Savoury Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Strata

Yield:  8-12 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes, plus 8+ hours in the fridge
Cook Time:  Approximately 1 hour


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1.5 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 2.5 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 cups cubed (1 inch) sourdough bread (or other French style)
  • 6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (about 2 cups)
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 14 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp butter


Directions:

Cook the breakfast sausage according to the package directions.  Once cooked through, drain the fat and set-aside the sausage in a bowl.  Once you have drained the fat from the sausage and removed it from the pan, add the onion to the pan and sauté for a few minutes, till the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the onion to your cooked sausage, and then add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Stir.  Add in the fresh spinach.

Butter a 9×13 baking dish.  Spread one third of bread cubes into the bottom of the baking dish and top evenly with one third of sausage and spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese.

Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.   Once nice and frothy, pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture.  Do not stir or worry about it looking uneven, it’ll be fine once it has time to set in the fridge.

Cover your strata with plastic wrap or tinfoil, place in fridge and let sit for at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb egg mixture).  This is best to do the night before and then the work is done for the morning.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove the strata from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking, to allow it to come to room temperature.

Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with a nice simple green salad, fresh fruit or all by itself.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious and Whole Foods

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Remember Me?

Remember me?

sunflower_sunrise_in_glendale

It has been a while since this blog of mine has been updated, and while being back to blogging feels great, it comes with trepidation.  It has been a while since I picked-up my camera and a while since it felt right.

It has been a tumultuous past 10+ months in my life.  There have been some highs and the absolute lowest of lows.  But I am not here to re-live the past, I am here to enjoy the present and share with you some happiness on a plate and to remember the good memories that come along with cooking, baking and sharing food with those closest to me.

Thank you for sticking with me for those who are still around, and if you are new, thanks for reading – I hope you will love the recipes!

JBean

Photo Credit: http://people.ucsc.edu/~sgutier9/

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Chicken Fajitas

 Fajita shot1

Oh Summer.  The months of constant running around here, there and everywhere.  Dinners out on patios with friends, wedding events galore, time spent at the beach and at parks…sometimes it feels like we are rarely home during the summer, let alone home for dinner.  But on those quiet summer nights, we fire-up the grill and enjoy the best of the seasonal produce, and this meal was everything a summer meal is meant to be.

Not to mention this is a quick dinner to get on the table and would be well received for those summer dinners with friends.  I served it up with some cheddar cheese, sour cream, tomatillo salsa and those made it top-notch.   The only changes I made to the recipe was using chicken thighs (my go-to) and adding a few more peppers to the mix.  I also don’t have a charcoal grill, so we just used our gas grilled and it tasted perfect.

Another great recipe from Annie’s Eats and one that will be on our table many times over the next few months (and I am sure even over the winter too!)

Enjoy!

Fajita shot2

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes, plus 15 for marinating
Cook Time:  20 minutes, give or take

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 TBSP vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribbed and diced
  • 1½ TBSP minced fresh cilantro (or more!)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1½ lbs)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
  • 1 large red bell peppers, stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • 1 large yellow bell peppers, stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • 1 large orange bell peppers, stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • 1 large green bell peppers, stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • 8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Sour Cream, Salsa, Tomatillo Salsa and extra cilantro for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade; set aside.  Place the chicken thighs in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

For a gas grill, light all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.  Leave one burner on high and turn the rest down to medium. (see here for charcoal directions).

Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and transfer to the hotter side of the grill; discard the left over marinade.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned, 3-4 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the chicken and continue grilling until it is no longer pink inside (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160˚ F.)

Place the onion rounds and peppers on the cooler side of the grill.   Cook the onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, about 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice as needed.

When the chicken and vegetables are done, separate the onions into rings and place them in a medium bowl.  Slice the bell peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips (discard the inside bits!) and then slice the chicken into ¼-inch strips (or, as I did, just dice the chicken into pieces).

Add the chicken and the reserved marinade into the bowl with the onions and toss to mix.

In 2 or 3 batches, transfer the tortillas in a single layer to the now empty grill on the cooler side.  Cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side.  When the tortillas are done, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or foil.

Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter, serve with the warmed tortillas and cheese, sour cream, salsa etc.

Enjoy!

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

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