Merry Christmas, y’all!
I’d apologize for being late but Christmas is 12 days, so really, I’m in the clear.
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Ours was just perfect – there were presents and hot cocoa and naps and mimosas and cookies and as always, a delectable brunch.
As a stickler for tradition, I make sure that we never stray from our Christmas morning strata and coffee cake. It’s just too easy, too tasty, and too ingrained in me to let it go. And it comes from a humble magazine clipping for a Jimmy Dean casserole. Ah, good ole Jimmy D.
If there were one food product that sponsored our Christmas, it would be pork sausage. We really lean into the holiday diet at our house. We make sausage balls, white lasagna, and this very strata and eat it all in about a 24 hour time period. Good thing I got a FitBit this year so I could walk all that high cholesterol off…right? That’s how cholesterol works, yes?
Though this is our Christmas tradition, it is highly adaptable. When is sausage, cheddar, and eggs not a good thing? I think it would be a wonderful New Year’s brunch as well. Maybe you had a great New Year’s Eve and you need something hearty to soak up that dulling hangover. Or maybe you hate New Year’s Eve because it is the most horrible night of the year but you got through it and you want to reward yourself the next morning. A pleasing square of strata works either way, you know?
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all have a tolerable one and I’ll see you in 2016.
Christmas Strata (ft. Jimmy Dean)
Yields: 6-8 servings
NOTE: This requires overnight chilling so make it a day ahead!
1 package Jimmy Dean sausage (or breakfast sausage), cooked and crumbled
4-5 cups of day old bread, cubed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Cabot, obviously)
10 eggs, beaten
4 cups milk (I use 2% for this)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
- To cook the sausage, form into patties and drop into slightly boiling water. This will help get rid of some of the fat. Cook it for a minute or tow on both sides then drain the water. Finish up by browning the sausage on both sides.
- Place the stale bread in a greased 9×13” casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Mix the eggs, seasonings, and milk together and pour over the bread and cheese. Break the sausage patties apart and sprinkle over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake uncovered for about an hour and cover the top with foil if it begins to brown too quickly.
- Pour yourself a mimo and dig in.