Throwing brunches is one of my favorite entertaining tricks for staying ahead on food preparation and staying under budget. A breakfast strata happens to be one of my favorite brunch dishes to prepare because all of the work can be done ahead of time, allowing me the chance to really be in the moment and visit with our guests.
Breakfast strata is nice and frugal because you can use what is in season and on sale to create this elegant dish. Better yet, you can use the leftover Easter ham and leftover vegetables in a fun and creative way. Even the bread can be stale or leftover from your Easter feasting. If you don’t have any bread to dig into, don’t forget my super awesome resource for day old bread. Between that and your Easter leftovers, you have the makings of a meal for mere pennies.
This strata is unlike my usual meat and cheese strata because it is filled with delicious fresh vegetables. I used zuchinni, mushrooms, and green peppers in mine, but you can mix up whatever variety of vegetables you love or have on hand. Leave the meat out to keep it vegetarian or add your favorite meat to add another dimension of flavor.
The creaminess in this comes from a tiny bit of half-and-half and a whole lot of cream cheese.
In my grandmother’s words, “Cream cheese just makes everything better.”
We couldn’t agree more.
- 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 3 cups chopped zucchini
- 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
- 1½ cups chopped green pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup half-and-half cream
- 12 eggs
- 4 cups cubed day-old bread
- 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, zucchini, ham, green peppers and garlic in oil until vegetables are tender. Drain and pat dry; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and cream until smooth.
- Beat in eggs.
- Stir in the bread, cheese, salt, pepper and vegetable mixture.
- Pour into two greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
What is your favorite way to use up those Easter dinner leftovers?