Savory Mushroom Breakfast Strata

This healthy yet decadent-tasting strata is studded with winter squash, mushrooms and tender greens.

Ingredients:
1 bunch hearty greens, such as kale or Swiss chard
½ pound mushrooms, such as baby Shiitake, washed and sliced
½ winter squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch pieces
½ loaf French bread (preferably stale!), cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1-2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
½ cup Gruyère cheese, grated
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 eggs
2 cups milk
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the greens. Cook 2-3 minutes, until tender but still colorful. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside. Cut one of the garlic cloves in half and rub the slices of bread with the cut side. Then mince all of the garlic. Cut the bread into 1-inch squares.

2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet and add the squash. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, and add the thyme, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Then add the mushrooms and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and fragrant. Stir in the greens, toss together and remove from the heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil or butter a 2-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, the mushrooms, squash and greens, and the two cheeses and toss together. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

4. Beat together the eggs and milk. Add salt to taste and a few twists of the pepper mill, and pour over the bread mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes before baking so that the bread can absorb some of the liquid.

5. Place in the oven and bake 40-50 minutes, until puffed and browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm.

Spinach & Cheese Strata

Put this week’s bread loaf to good use with this spinach-kissed breakfast strata.

Ingredients:
10 ounces spinach, washed
1½ cups finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed Pain au Levain bread
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup finely grated Grana-style cheese
2¾ cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Method:
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible.
2. Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

3. Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

4. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).

5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom, Leek & Fontina Frittata

Perhaps best served at room temperature, this luscious frittata from Bon Appetit is a fantastic do-ahead entrée.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium leeks, whites and pale green parts only, chopped
1 cup Beech mushrooms, thinly sliced
12 large eggs
½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, crème fraîche, and parsley in a large bowl; mix in ½ cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute mixture. Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes.

4. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven. Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes.

Baked Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast

This homey recipe from The Pioneer Woman can easily be done a day ahead and chilled until ready to bake.

Ingredients:
1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread
Butter, for greasing the baking pan
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Topping:
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
½ cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins

Method:
1. Cut bread into ¼-inch slices, then overlap the slices in rows in a well-buttered baking dish. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, then pour the mixture evenly over all the pieces of bread, soaking the bread as much as possible.

2. To make the topping, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and cut it all together with a pastry cutter. Stir in the raisins. Sprinkle the topping all over the casserole. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the French toast for 45 minutes to 1 hour for a softer texture, or longer for a firmer, crisper texture. Cover with foil for the first 30 minute of baking, then remove it for the remaining baking time. Serve individual helpings with butter and warm syrup

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