Time to bring something new to the breakfast or brunch table. Hold it, why not enjoy the Strata for supper; add a nice salad and poof your meal is complete. Let’s look at this a bit closer. I would load the strata full of everything Italian except for the meat. Then I would grill a nice slice of ham to go with the salad. Or….take thinly sliced ham and wrap it around asparagus, add a little sassy sauce and proceed to grill or bake. Of course, bacon is always a good choice around the asparagus too. Consider a nice fruit or bran muffin presented in a cloth-lined basket, at the table. For beverages alcohol and alcohol-free mimosas, and certainly a delicious pot of coffee. This sounds so yummy I may have to make it this week!
A strata is so flexible it can cover a million bases. My mind is on a roll now. If it’s cooler weather an Italian soup would be good with the recipe this week. If you don’t like the muffin idea go with sweetbreads or an easy fix coffee cake.
I’m so eager to have this meal I’m ready to create an occasion and prepare it for friends. Nothing in this world can replace good conversation and friends around a table. It solves more problems than Heinz has got pickles. I’d like to plant a few seeds this week and challenge everyone to have a ‘mission’. Promise yourselves that every other week you’ll have friends over and make the time for personal preservation. So so many things happen when we gather around a table. My husband, Ervin, and I just got up from the dining table where we talked about our day and shared information. Problems get solved, new ideas are formed, communication excels and we get our lives back into balance. The food can be crackers and cheese and ice tea for goodness sakes. Call your group a cute name and remember the focus is to be positive and productive. When things go the wrong direction be willing to pull the group back into focus.
Imagine if neighborhoods went back to sitting on the front porch and dining around the table. Positive outreach and communication would manifest itself into success. I’m getting excited talking about actions that would help preserve this great nation.
One time in this column I quoted my former neighbor who was probably in his 80’s when I knew him. He said ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.’ Instead of talking about situations and doing nothing to make them better, jump in and get your feet wet. What we sew so shall we reap!
Now go turn that oven on and bake something yummy to share with somebody, even if it’s the mailman! I promise I’m done with the short lecturette. Personally, I’ve just solved some of my meal planning this week, we have Italian strata.
1 pound Italian Sausage, cooked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
*Could use Italian style tomatoes
2 cups milk
6-8 slices cubed bread
1 cup Parmesan cheese (or your desired amount)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pepper to taste
Sliced Black Olives or mushrooms, optional
Cook sausage, breaking into small pieces, add pepper and onion and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add drained tomatoes and continue cooking until most of the moisture is absorbed. In a large bowl break bread into cubes, sprinkle with cheese, salt, and spices. Whisk eggs and milk together and combine with the bread crumb mixture. Lastly; stir in meat and vegetables. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan and cover. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the dish is puffed and golden. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving. A knife inserted in the center will also tell you if the dish is done cooking. The knife should be clean. Should serve 6-8 persons.
*If this is served with a side of meat consider leaving out the sausage. Sauté the vegetables in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil instead. Also consider personalizing the cheese to your liking: Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano, etc. Use this recipe as a foundation for all kinds of breakfast casseroles.
Debbie Dance Uhrig