During the busy holidays, we all need simple, but show stopper dishes, we can serve to a hungry crowd. There is nothing easier than an overnight French toast casserole or a hearty egg strata for a big brunch or breakfast. Last November I posted my pumpkin french toast casserole- I hope you gave it a try. Now I am going to share with you my overnight egg casserole or strata.
I recently served it on Christmas morning, but I made pans of it for the day after wedding brunch for my daughter’s this July. Make the night ahead, pop it inthe fridge, bake for 1 hour and – done!
Enjoy your coffee and look like a super star when everyone enjoys this savory hearty dish for breakfast.
For a perfect holiday brunch menu, I would serve the strata with ambrosia, my Pumpkin Rum spiced lattes or Apple Cider Sangria and my cinnamon sticky buns. Check out my recipe index for all the details.
For a wedding or summer brunch serve with a bowl overflowing with fresh berries, croissants with jam from a local bakery and mimosas.
*** See notes on entertaining below.
Pepper & Sausage Strata
4-5 large Italian chicken sausage links, casings removed
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1 orange bell pepper, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 10oz package frozen kale, thawed
3 cups baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
10 large eggs, beaten
2 cups cheese, grated- I like a sharp cheddar or Monterey jack
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Italian herbs
Method- Prep time- 30 minutes, baking time- 1 hour, serves 6
- In a large pan, heat 1 TBSP of olive oil. Cook sausage breaking it into small pieces. Set aside.
In the same pan in the sausage drippings, sauté the onion until translucent. Add in peppers and mushrooms cooking another 5-7 minutes on medium high heat. Stir in garlic and cook another 1 minute.
Stir in the kale. Season with Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Mix with cooked sausage in a large bowl. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Beat the eggs well and pour into the cooled vegetable and sausage mixture. Fold in the cheese. Pour the entire mixture into a well buttered casserole dish. Cover with foil and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from the fridge and rest at room temperature 15-30 minutes prior to baking. This keeps the eggs from becoming tough.
Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20-30 minutes until top is golden. Center should be set and not liquidy or runny.
***For effortless entertaining, ( honestly, there is no such thing), plan a menu where guests only need a fork. Less dishes to wash. Also consirder using antique plates (dishwasher safe) because thery are smaller and you will need less food. Folks feel full even if the plate is smaller- great trick.
Set up your buffet the night before including a “serve yourself” coffee station. Just pour freshly drawn water in the coffee maker in the morning. The coffee station will keep guests busy while the food is baking.
For guests wanting to help, -pre-order your baked goods from a local bakery and have a guest pick up on their way to your home. Ask folks to help by putting pre-washed berries into a beautiful serving bowl. Top with sprigs of mint. Simple.
I put out my serving dishes & flatware the night before with a note saying what goes in each dish or trivet.
Have your dishwasher completely empty before the brunch begins.
Consider having a tub of hot soapy water in your sink for dirty dishes to soak and have lots of clean dish towels for drying up. Check your powder room for plenty of hand towels, soap and be certain there is extra toilet paper. I always keep fresh flowers in the powder room or a small candle.