Strata Lorraine


Strata Lorraine
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10 main dish servings
 
Strata is a fancy name for a casserole of bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and ingredients that flavor the custardy result, allowing you to make it in a different version every time. This is an excellent breakfast buffet item during the holidays because it can be assembled the night before, refrigerated and put in the oven about an hour before you intend to serve it. It is reminiscent of quiche, but without the high-calorie, time-intensive crust. It can easily be made in a quantity suitable for a large group. In this case, the well-known Quiche Lorraine was the inspiration for the dish. Reduced-fat Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, and bacon are the basis for preparing this flavorful casserole. Some recipes call for layering the ingredients, which is why it got the name “strata”, but layering is not necessary. Once again, this is a base recipe that you can alter to your taste and the occasion. You can switch out the type of cheese you use, the type of bread you use, the meat you choose (or no meat), the vegetables you add, the seasoning, etc. You can make the dish richer by using full-fat cheese or half and half to replace the milk. I especially enjoy a vegetarian version made with sautéed mushrooms and blanched broccoli. A Mexican-inspired version that reminds me of chiles rellenos can be made with green chiles and a mixture of Jack and Cheddar cheeses, served topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound loaf of bread (Butter-top wheat works well)
  • 1 pound Jarlesberg reduced-fat cheese
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish, such as a Pyrex 9x13 pan. Cut the onion into 1/4 inch dice. Sauté in the butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the onion caramelizes and becomes golden and sweet. While the onion is cooking, dice the cheese into small pieces (or grate it if it is a single piece) and place in a large bowl. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch dice and add to the bowl. Add the bacon bits and black pepper. Add the sautéed onions. Mix to distribute the ingredients. Pour into the baking dish.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Mix in the salt and the milk. Pour the liquid gently over the bread mixture and press the bread lightly into the dish to distribute the moisture evenly. At this point, you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until the next day. Remove from the refrigerator and bake in a 350 degree F. oven until puffed and golden, about 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.

 

Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole


Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 18 1/2 cup servings
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Ingredients
Potato Mixture
  • About 5 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray or oil
Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool until you can touch them. Gently pull off the potato skins and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Beat at medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the potatoes are smooth. If you are appliance free, use a potato masher. Combine the half and half, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and egg. Add the mixture to the potatoes and mix until evenly combined. Spoon the potato mixture into the baking dish.
  2. To make the streusel, pulse the pecans a few times in a food processor leaving some large chunks and set aside in a small bowl. Pulse the flour and sugar to combine them. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecans and pulse 2 or 3 times until the nuts are distributed. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the nuts with a knife. Mix the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork. Mix in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the potato mixture. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.

 

Chocolate Pudding


Flavored with orange and garnished with orange zest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Pudding
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts, Snacks, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 1/2 cup servings
 
When the weather starts turning colder, my thoughts move to comfort food and nothing says comfort better than chocolate pudding. There is no comparison between home-cooked pudding and instant pudding or those little tubs of pudding you find in the supermarket refrigerated section. Since this comes together in minutes, there is no reason to deprive yourself of the chocolaty goodness. You can use vanilla, almond, orange, or any flavoring you like with chocolate, but start with no more than half a teaspoon and taste before adding more. Some flavoring agents are very strong. My favorite is orange extract. For a mocha flavor, dissolve a teaspoon of instant coffee granules into the mixture before you start cooking it. An attractive way to serve the pudding is to layer it with berries or bananas and whipped cream in a parfait glass. If you need an almost effortless dessert for guests, you can pour the pudding into a pre-baked pie shell or graham cracker crust, chill, and top it shortly before serving with swirls of sweetened whipped cream scented with a little vanilla extract. This is an excellent recipe for making with children, especially if you use the microwave oven method.
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • A pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 cups milk, half and half, or soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of other flavoring
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan (stove-top method) or 2 quart microwave-safe bowl, sift the dry ingredients together or whisk them together thoroughly until there are no little lumps. Whisk in the cold milk using a small amount at first and then the rest once all the dry ingredients are moistened. Using the stove-top, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly at the end, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. In a microwave oven, cook on high stirring at 1 minute intervals for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flavoring. Spoon into serving dishes. If you are not cooling the pudding in individual serving dishes, you can cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to avoid the formation of a “skin”. Garnish and serve.