Good morning, sunshine!
I don’t know about you, but I wake up hungry. And just like I’m a meat-and-potatoes girl for dinner, I’m a bacon-and-eggs girl for breakfast. Unfortunately, making bacon and eggs every morning has been slowing me down, and I wanted to speed up that process. A make-ahead egg recipe seemed like a good idea, and I’ve been keeping an eye out for a new one.
Sunday evening, I was flipping through “Cooking Light.” Everything looked good, of course, but nothing was jumping out at me as The Thing I Want to Make This Week. Then I came across the artichoke and goat cheese strata toward the end and, minutes later, was putting on pants so I could go to the grocery store.
(I like to relax with magazines in various states of undress — in this case, boxer shorts that could best be called “cheeky.”)
I did make one substitution: I cut the bread in half and added sausage. If you’re a vegetarian, you can just put your thing down, flip it, and reverse it, and just use twice as much bread as I do here. But I do like getting porked first thing in the morning.
This is How We Do It
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add 4 ounces ground sausage (I used light turkey sausage) and 1/2 cup finely minced shallots (one big bulb should do it) and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in one package (10 ounces) thawed artichoke hearts and two cloves of garlic, minced; cook for about eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is cooked and the artichoke hearts have begun to brown. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence. Then let cool for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 1 and 3/4 cups 1 percent milk, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and 4 large eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 2 and 1/2 cups cubed white country-style bread (I used about three slices of bread). Toss gently to combine.
One nice thing about this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before and cook in the morning, if you’re planning for a Sunday morning bangover or just brunch with your boyfriend’s parents. (Um, but hopefully not both.) If that is your plan, stop here and put each mixture in the fridge (separately) in airtight containers. The next morning, remove both mixtures from the fridge, let stand at room temperature for ten minutes, and then continue on…
Stir the sausage mixture into the egg mixture and let stand for 20 minutes.
Spoon half of bread mixture into an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, and top with remaining bread mixture. Sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup goat cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
You can eat it…or you can let it cool for about 10 minutes, cover it with foil, and put the whole pan in the fridge. The next morning, you can cut it into four pieces (or six, if you feel like sharing), put a piece in the microwave for about 45 seconds, and have a hearty breakfast ready!
I made the strata on Sunday night while watching the Academy Awards (even though awards shows make me want to not eat). Monday morning, I was happy to have a filling and healthy breakfast waiting for me, and even happier to cut about 20 minutes out of my routine by not having to deal with making bacon and eggs or doing dishes. Prepared ahead of time, it also makes a great lunch or post-evening workout dinner. And now that I have the basic formula down, I might substitute spinach, bacon, and feta for the artichokes, sausage, and goat cheese next time.
What sort of breakfasts do you like? Bacon and eggs? Cold cereal? Yesterday was National Pancake Day, but that’s so not my style! What is yours?