This past weekend I went to a Brunch and Clothing Swap with a lovely group of ladies from our church. We chatted about girl things and brunched on breakfast casseroles, parfaits and pancakes. I even got to rock one precious baby to sleep. I honestly can’t think of many ways to better spend a Saturday.
Brunch with friends is always a great idea, but to throw in a clothing swap, as well, is pure genius. We all cleaned out our closets and brought anything (clothes, accessories, baby toys, etc.) that we no longer needed/wanted. Everyone was able to grab anything they wanted (for FREE) and then everything leftover was donated to a local shelter. We all left with full bellies and a few “new to us” pieces of clothing and accessories. Like I said.. genius, right?
When it comes to brunch food, there are so many great options to choose from. I knew I wanted to make something that would use up the leftover Italian sausage I already had on hand. After looking through a bajillion recipes, I ended up combining elements from two different strata recipes (one from Giada De Laurentiis and the other from Martha Stewart). The ending result was a delicious success, so I thought I’d share it with you!
Strata is really just a fancy way of saying “breakfast casserole”. It is primarily made up of bread, cheese, meat and/or veggies in lasagna-like layers and is then covered with an egg and milk sauce that softens the bread. Strata is definitely not dairy-free, but could easily be made meatless.
Most recipes I found called for stale Italian or white bread. However, being a natural procrastinator, I didn’t think to buy bread in advance, allowing it enough time to become stale. Instead, I bought a semi-fresh whole wheat baguette the prior night and it worked great! As long as you stay away from the super soft breads, almost any type you choose should be just fine.
Sausage & Spinach Strata
- 8 oz. Italian sausage, casings removed (If available, I recommend the sun-dried tomato and basil sausage from Trader Joe’s)
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 3 ounces baby spinach (chopped)
- olive oil spray
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 whole wheat French baguette (cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, and then in half, like a half moon)
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella
- Cook sausage over medium heat in a large pan, breaking up the meat as you stir, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the onion to the pan, stirring often until soft,5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped spinach.
- Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with olive oil spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Arrange bread pieces side-by-side in the casserole dish, covering the bottom.
- Spoon half of the sausage and spinach mixture over the bread and then half of the cheese over that. Repeat with another lay of each – bread, sausage and spinach mixture, and then cheese. Using your hands, press down firmly on the layers.
- Slowly pour the milk and egg mixture over the layers, allowing it to seep down into the casserole. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove casserole from the refrigerator and bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, until golden. (If refrigerated overnight, you may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time.)
What other brunch recipes would you like to see here? I would love to hear from you! Please comment below with any recipe suggestions, comments, or general feedback that you have.
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