NYC Breakfast Strata (or Strata take 2)

Tray of strata

Tray of strata (click to enlarge)

Serving of strata

Serving of strata (click to enlarge)

The best thing about stratas is that they are an awesome vehicle for leftovers. In this case I had left over bagels that we weren’t going to eat, some cheese, some leftover bacon, and a generous gift of leeks and kale from Chica’s farm share! It made for a yummy breakfast or brunch meal. Make sure you let it set after baking, don’t serve hot for the best flavor.

6-8 slices of bacon (these were pretty thin slices)
2 tbsp butter
3 leeks (sliced thinly and washed)
1 bunch kale (stripped, chopped and washed)
8 eggs (large)
2 cups 1% milk (any milk will do, that’s what we had)
1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used edam because it was open but gruyere or cheddar work well too)
2.5 large bagels, cut into 1 inch cubes (Staten Island bagels are REALLY large)
2 tbsp grated pecorino romano (to sprinkle on top just before baking)
salt, pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 375 F.
After leeks are washed and left to dry a bit, chop bacon and cook it in a dutch oven. Remove bacon and place it on paper towel to dry; leave grease in the pan, add 2 tbsp butter and melt. Add leeks, season, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add cleaned chopped kale, season, and cook until the kale breaks down, another 10 minutes.
While vegetables are sautéing, beat eggs in large bowl, add milk, shredded cheese and bacon, salt and pepper to taste, and stir all together. Throw bagel cubes into mixture and let sit to absorb.
When veggies are cooked (and kale has broken down and is more tender) take pan off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir veggies into bread/milk mixture in bowl. Grease a 9 x 12″ baking pan and add mixture. Top with pecorino romano cheese.
Bake for 60 minutes. Check at 50 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter until top is golden brown and center doesn’t have much liquid well up when you separate it in the center (some can well up, just as long as the strata doesn’t seem soppy).

It really tastes much better after it cools for a while and the flavors blend especially left over hours later or the next day.


Chard Strata

The rainbow chard was ready for harvest today and we had 1/3 of a long loaf of day-old italian bread but not much else in the house. It’s tough coming up with dishes in which to hide chard from Chris. He’s not a big fan of it even though it is mild and tasty and healthier than spinach.


Today’s harvest for the strata… I love rainbow chard’s colors!


Ready to harvest… the vegtrug is filled to bursting! The arugula has gotten very peppery and has started to bolt, but it has pretty flowers!

What better way to appeal to Chris’ appetite than a bread pudding? Even better, something with cheese and a custardy texture? Strata to the rescue!

I found a number of chard strata recipes online (Martha Stewart, NY Times, Williams-Sonoma), but I settled on this one because it had fewer ingredients and better matched what I had in the house (the others called for sausage or mushrooms as well). Of course I still made a number of changes to the original. It came out great and would have been even better had Chris not been so famished… we ate it before it had time to get to room temp but it was still delicious (and heavy). I served it with a chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad (nice and light).



Here is my recipe:

  • 2 bunches chard, chopped, separate thicker stems from the rest
  • 1/3 long loaf italian bread or baguette, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra to butter casserole dish
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or diced (gruyere would probably be delicious, we only had cheddar in the house)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% because that’s what we had)
  • 6 large eggs
  • kosher salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and butter a 9×9 casserole dish.
  2. In 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil saute onions and chard stems until soft and translucent, season with salt and pepper
  3. Add garlic and bread and saute for a minute or two, season a little more
  4. Put bread mixture in casserole dish
  5. Add another tbsp butter to pan and saute chard leaves until wilted and soft
  6. Add 3/4 of cheese to casserole and add chard. Mix all together.
  7. Top with remaining cheese and egg/milk mixture
  8. Bake for 40 minutes until golden on top
  9. Allow to cool before serving (slightly warm is fine but allow time for it to set and flavors to blend, room temp better)

I’ll update this post tomorrow to let you know how it is leftover. Photos of the process below.

breadonions   chardcooking




Swiss Chard Quiche

Lots and lots of veggies, not too much goo.  🙂

This was delicious. I had a very large bunch of rainbow chard so the veggies filled the quiche. Not much egg/cheese, so it was nice. Not too heavy. I served it with an arugula salad with lemon juice, evoo and pecorino. Yum.
It took a lot longer in the oven than I had expected… 70 minutes instead of 45, but it was worth it. The top will be browned and the center set when it’s ready.

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 45-70 minutes
Serves 6

2-3 tbsp olive oil (depending on amt of chard you have)
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped (this was a large bunch from the CSA)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
kosher salt (just a pinch, cheddar is salty)
black pepper (optional)
4 oz cheddar cheese (half of a block), shredded (about 1 cup)
9-inch pie crust, pre-baked

Bake pie crust according to package directions (I used a frozen one instead of making my own this time).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook onions and chard until tender, 3-5 minutes (season with salt and pepper as desired while cooking).  Allow to cool slightly.
Whisk eggs and half-and-half in bowl, add cheddar, and mix with chard mixture.
Pour mixture into baked pie crust. Wrap foil around crust edges to prevent over-browning.
Bake 45-70 minutes until set. (Mine took 70 minutes, but our oven isn’t super-hot)

Hash Brown Quiche

An early Christmas breakfast party led me to look for another one-dish breakfast. Paula Deen’s hash brown quiche (original recipe here) looked like a good option, once some of the fat was cut down. I also had to eliminate meat from the recipe.

The photo is from her recipe website… I forgot to take a picture of mine.

My version was as follows:

  • 3 cups frozen shredded has browns (I used Ore-Ida Potatoes O’Brien, thawed and drained- they had no shredded hash browns in the supermarket, these were diced and had onions and peppers mixed in the bag- I just chopped them up a little more)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted.
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup diced scallions
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Gently press the drained hash browns with paper towels to dry them.Mix them in large bowl with melted butter.
Spray a 9″ pie plate (deep) with Pam cooking spray. put potatoes in plate and use the bottom of a cup measure to press down and up the sides to create a crust.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp (her recipe calls for 20-25 minutes, but mine toook 35).
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. When crust is ready, pour the egg mixture over it and level it out.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for about 35-45 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed in the center (PD says 30 min, but mine wasn’t ready until 40-45 minutes).

Yum! Her recipe calls for 3/4 cup diced ham too. I think that would be a perfect addition in future as long as you’re not cooking for vegetarians!

Frittatas in muffin cups

I made Giada’s mini frittatas last year for our Christmas breakfast but was looking for something a little larger and less messy this year (they really stick to the pan).
I found a recipe online, and I made a number of changes. I made 2 dozen; one dozen with broccoli and cheddar, the other with diced ham and cheddar. It made too many for our party of 7, so next time I’ll just make 18.

Frittata Muffins

(Makes 24 muffins)

24 eggs
3/4 to 1 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded low fat cheddar
1 cup chopped broccoli, defrosted (for one batch)
1 cup diced deli ham
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Use regular muffin pan; spray pan with Pam, then put a paper liner into each slot, then spray liner with nonstick spray.

In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat or vegetables, then cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You want the muffin cups to be about 2/3 full, with just enough room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients. Break eggs into large measuring bowl with pour spout, add milk and beat well. Pour egg into each muffin cup until it is almost full. Stir slightly with a fork.
Put trays on cookie sheets to catch any over-spill (some egg spilled onto the bottom of the oven and burned and smelled awful!).

Bake 25-35 minutes until muffins have risen and are slightly browned and set.