This recipe for Sausage and Cheese Strata is an easy breakfast recipe... takes minutes to prep... and no need to refrigerate overnight... it works perfectly fine setting up just before you bake it...
I made this with just a few simple ingredients.. I wanted the flavors of breakfast sausage, cheese and eggs... like a breakfast sandwich in a casserole... but .. there is nothing to say you have to limit the ingredients to just those.. you can add chopped peppers or onion... maybe some spices to give it a southwestern spin.. it's up to you.
As for the size pan.. I have a deep 9 inch square baking dish (3 inches deep)... it worked perfectly... this will also fit in a 9 x 13 ... keep in mind that the wider the baking dish the less bake time...
Check after the lowest bake time and insert a knife... if it comes out wet (you will see custard smeared on it) bake longer.. you want it to come out fairly clean.. it will be slightly wet... otherwise your strata would be too dry.
I used half a bakery loaf of a Country White Bread from our local supermarket's bakery... you know the kind.. the kind your Mother may have made... I don't get it sliced.. I like to do it myself... this is a heartier bread than those sliced sandwich loaves you buy in the packages.
Challah or whole wheat bread.. even sour dough would work with this recipe.
I tried to cut the fat where I could... I use fat free half and half... it works wonderfully with this kind of recipe... you could substitute the regular kind... if you must sub milk .. use whole milk.. the lower fat milks are simply not creamy enough.
I did add small cubes of butter on the top.. it really does add flavor and crisps up the top... some things are best not substituted... but margarine will work.. just not as well. Cut the butter lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise again... (they look like sticks)... then slice each into tiny cubes.
If you want to cut the fat a little more without sacrificing flavor or texture.. you can use egg substitute ... that will work just fine.
As for the sausage.. use what you like... any breakfast sausage you like... just cook it and drain it on paper towels if it's really greasy ... and crumble it.
I used a cheddar Monterey Jack cheese mixture... use whatever cheese you like... all cheddar.. Mexican Blend... all Monterey Jack... American... Colby Jack... even Pepper Jack would work (and give it a little zip).
Mine did not run over in the oven.. but to be sure I don't make a mess in my oven.. I always put the baking dish on a baking sheet to prevent any spillage in the oven.
As I mentioned earlier.. you don't have to soak this overnight.. if you want to cut the morning prep time.. make the sausage ahead and store it in the fridge.. then assemble everything in the morning.
Try this.. you won't be sorry!
Recipe: Sausage and Cheese Strata
All you need:
1 pound breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 loaf of Bakery White Bread, crusts removed and cubed *See TIPS
6 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups Fat Free half and half
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (8 oz.) pkg shredded cheddar/Jack cheese *See TIPS
3 tablespoons butter, in tiny cubes
Butter flavored cooking oil spray.
All you need to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a deep 9 inch square baking dish or a 9 x 13 baking dish, with butter flavored cooking oil spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half and dry mustard.
Put a 1/3 of the bread cubes in the dish, sprinkle with a 1/3 of the cheese and a 1/3 of the sausage... toss them a bit to mix it well .. repeat with another layer. Repeat for the last layer... but... reserve a little shredded cheese to sprinkle on the very top.
Pour the wet mixture into the casserole.. try to evenly pour over the whole thing.
Sprinkle with the reserved cheese.
Drop the butter cubes evenly over the top of the casserole.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean.