For us, breakfast strata is an absolute must on Christmas morning. I grew up with it, and the holiday just wouldn’t feel complete without it.
Plus, when you make it the night before, the only work you have to do in the morning is pull the breakfast strata out of the fridge, uncover it, and stick it in the oven. Less time in the kitchen, more time playing with the toys Santa brought you. If you’ve been good, that is.
Put this on the table every Christmas morning and I’m pretty sure you’ll secure a permanent spot on Santa’s “Nice” list.
Breakfast strata is basically bread, egg, and milk, with veggies, cheese, and sometime meat thrown into the mix. You layer the ingredients the night before, and stick it in the fridge. As the strata sits overnight, the bread soaks up the eggs and milk and it all sort of becomes one.
If you’ve yet to discover the glory of breakfast strata, you may be thinking, “eww, soggy bread!” But – trust me on this – it all transforms into a cheesy, almost light souffle-like dish, and it’s really pretty heavenly.
This version boasts earthy sauteed mushrooms, lots of nutty Swiss cheese, and fresh thyme – and it’s the one that’ll be on our table Christmas morning.
Normally, as with many of my One Dish Two Ways recipes, I would divide the recipe and and create two smaller versions in 4-inch by 8-inch casserole dishes. One of them would have bacon sprinkled in with the vegetables, one wouldn’t. And you can totally do that – or add bacon to all of it. Or none – strata recipes are flexible like that.
This time around, I was a little lazy with the meat – I just cooked a couple of pieces up and crumbled them on top of individual portions. Either way you do it, the carnivores should be nice and pleased. And, of course, the vegetarians will be thrilled they can enjoy breakfast’s main course. And you, the cook, will love spending precious time with your family instead of slaving in the kitchen!
That’s a Merry Christmas indeed.
Mushroom, Swiss, & Thyme Breakfast Strata with Optional Bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cups sliced white button mushrooms (8 ounces)
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme plus additional sprigs for garnishing (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices plain white sandwich bread (crusts trimmed)
- 2 cups grated Swiss cheese (8 ounces)
If topping with bacon, add per serving:
- 1 slice of thick-cut bacon (cooked, drained, and chopped)
- In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and mushrooms until soft, about 5 - 6 minutes. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, salt, and pepper until well-beaten.
- Spray an 8-inch x 8-inch x at least 2-inch deep baking pan/casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray (or grease with butter).
- Lay four bread slices on the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle bread with 1/2 of the sauteed vegetables.
- Add 1/2 of the cheese.
- Pour half of the egg mixture over the top.
- Add the remaining four slices of bread in a single layer, then the veggies, then the cheese. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the top.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight, or for at least three hours.
- In the morning, uncover and bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes, until the strata is set (it will no longer jiggle in the middle).
- Let cool for about 10 minutes, then serve.