Whenever I make bread, I struggle with the storage details. Should I freeze half of the loaf? Should I slice and freeze the whole thing, taking out pieces as needed? Should I leave the whole loaf out on the counter so it’s ready whenever we want it? The dilemma comes from the fact that there are just two of us eating it, and I prefer to leave it on the counter but that turns into a bread binge race against time to eat it before it goes stale or moldy.
And this was the situation I found myself in this week: half of a loaf on the counter, starting to loose it’s freshly-baked vitality. I thought back to recipes I’ve seen or made that used a lot of bread and remembered a ham and cheese strata from my favorite childhood cookbook from the 80s, Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cookbook. A quick recipe search led me to As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole from simplyrecipes.com and I was well on my way to developing my version of that strata, updated for homemade bread and non-meat-eaters.
Even though there’s not meat, this strata is hearty and filling. The flavor is relatively mild, and it doesn’t taste cheese-heavy, so seasonings can easily be adjusted for more oomph.
Vegetarian Strata with Broccoli and Mushrooms
Adapted from As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole
- 8 eggs
- 6 1/2 oz grated cheddar cheese
- 6 slices bread, cut into cubes
- 2 cups milk
- 12 oz frozen broccoli
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp butter
- 1 1/2 tsp oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-6 green onions, sliced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.
- Saute the mushrooms in the butter and oil until cooked and liquid has cooked off. Stir in the garlic and cook briefly, just until fragrant. Set aside.
- Boil a saucepan of water and add the frozen broccoli. Simmer until it’s cooked to the desired texture. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the milk and cheese. Gently stir in the bread cubes until moistened.
- Add the mushrooms, broccoli, onions, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread into the prepared dish and bake for 40 minutes, then check to see if it needs additional time. When it’s done, the top will be browned and the center will spring back when touched.
- Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.