Sunday, June 16, 2013

Asparagus, red pepper, and cheese strata

Here's a great make-ahead dish that you can serve anytime of the day!  I served it as dinner, but it would also make the perfect side for breakfast.  It's another one of those customizable meals that you can make however you like.  I added asparagus and red pepper, but I think next time I'll add some meat (per Darling Husband's request).  Perfect to bring to a big gathering, or dish it up for a couple meals at home.  You could easily prep this the night before and toss it in the oven in the morning.  I prepped it around 9 am and we had it for dinner that evening.  It's just like a savory bread pudding.  Eggs, and cheese, and bread....what else could you ask for?!

Asparagus, red pepper, and cheese strata
1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch size pieces
1 large red pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cups French bread , cut into cubes (day old works great)
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onion until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add asparagus and red pepper and cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.   In a large bowl beat eggs with milk. Add about a teaspoon salt and pepper, and Dijon mustard.  
Place half the bread cubes along the bottom of your prepared dish.  Top with half your veggie mixture and 1 cup cheese.  Repeat layers, but save the remaining cup of cheese to add right before baking.  Pour egg mixture over the entire casserole.  Gently press the top of the casserole down to moisten all the bread layers. Cover dish and refrigerate anywhere from 2 to 24 hours.  
Once ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.  Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.

There you have it!  A simple dish, you can serve many different ways!  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to making some cookies.