Tag

make ahead

recipe: spinach and cheese strata. 

L made this delicious Spinach and Cheese Strata for Mother’s Day brunch – it was a hit! Yall know we love anything we can make ahead…means more time to work on our tablescape. Add a fresh fruit salad (L chose Watermelon Feta Salad) and muffins, and you’ve got an easy, elegant brunch. We adapted this from an Annie’s Eats post; here’s our version (with notes).

Make-Ahead Spinach and Cheese Strata

Spinach and Cheese Strata
photo: annie’s eats.

 

What You Need:

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped (basically, one large yellow onion)
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (we used bagged, organic frozen spinach)
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • Dash ground nutmeg (the original recipe called for freshly grated…but ground works just fine)
  • 8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (basically one large loaf)
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk (we used Horizon Organic 1% low-fat milk)

What You Do:

  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat.  Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Liberally coat the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes.  Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses.  Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese. It’s important to grate your cheeses ahead of time, so that you can distribute them evenly in your layers.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.  Whisk together until blended.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
  • Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serves 8.

**This is our version of a well-loved, well-published recipe. Annie’s Eats adapted this from Smitten Kitchen. Originally appeared in Gourmet, February 2003.

Bonus: Sample Brunch Menu

  • Spinach and Cheese Strata
  • Watermelon and Feta Salad
  • Blueberry Streusel Muffins
  • Assorted Breakfast Sausages
  • Iced Coffee Bar (we paired this pre-made iced coffee with whipped cream and cute straws)
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joe’s veggie lasagna.

From L:

Joe and I made an early New Year’s resolution to cook more/eat healthier. We started with this veggie lasagna Saturday night. Joe adapted a basic recipe into something delicious…and totally healthy. He also dropped half of it on the floor, which turned out to be good because if he HADN’T we would definitely have eaten the whole pan. My favorite thing about this recipe is that you make it in a loaf pan (the size you would make banana bread in). Double the recipe and make one to freeze while you’re at it – the smaller pan size won’t take up an entire freezer shelf. You can make this a day in advance, too – just cover tightly with foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.

Joe’s Veggie Lasagna

What You Need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1/2 8oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup jarred pasta sauce (we used a generic “chunky vegetable” pasta sauce)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

What You Do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain.
  • Steamer spinach and zucchini until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and press the water out of the vegetables. Don’t skip this step – veggies have lots of water in them, and if you don’t press the water out you’ll have a soggy lasagna.
  • Mix veggies, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, spices, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  • Spread 1/4 cup pasta sauce on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish; top with 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/4 cup pasta sauce. Repeat layers of 3 more noodles, 1/2 cup ricotta mixture, and 1/4 cup pasta sauce. End with remaining 3 lasagna noodles and 1/4 cup pasta sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese on top. Cover casserole with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Uncover casserole and continue baking until lasagna is bubbling and lightly browned, about 25 more minutes. Let lasagna stand 5 minutes before serving.
TGL Lasagna
fresh out of the oven.
Joe's Lasagna
bon appetit!

Serves four (or two if you drop half on the floor). Yay for resolutions!

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