On Christmas morning, I like to sip coffee in front of the fire, in my pajamas, and not be in the kitchen cooking. (I just asked my husband if this was true and he said, “SO TRUE!”) The only thing I want to do on Christmas morning is press the “on” button on our coffee maker. I end up doing a little more, but not much. The way I avoid doing much on Christmas morning is by putting together brunch the night before. This Christmas morning strata recipe, along with cinnamon rolls, is something I put together on Christmas eve, refrigerate overnight, and then bake in the morning. This make ahead brunch recipe is delicious, hearty, and tasty.
If you’re assembling this on Christmas eve or the day before, it’s best to bring it to room temperature before baking it. If not, it’s okay but it may need to bake for longer. It takes less time to bake if it’s not going directly from the refrigerator to the oven.
This recipe is adapted from my cousin Renee’s strata recipe. In my recipe binder, it reads, “Cousin Renee’s Strata Recipe.” Cousin Renee, who is actually my Dad’s cousin but she’s my age so we just call each other cousins, is a fabulous cook and when she shared this recipe with me, I jumped for joy. I was clueless and used to put together an egg dish on Christmas morning when really what I wanted to be doing was sitting in front of the fire sipping coffee! I had no idea that it could be done the night before, refrigerated, and then baked. Isn’t Cousin Renee the best?
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups milk (I use 2% or whole)
- 1 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, optional: hot sauce
- 6-8 slices of bread, cut into ½ to 1-inch cubes, about 6 cups
- 1 pound [url href=”https://gogingham.com/2012/06/why-i-cook-with-pork/” target=”_blank”]ground pork[/url]
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 5-6 cups or handfuls of spinach (I like Earthbound Farm’s – it’s pre-washed and ready to toss in)
- Cook pork and set aside to cool in a bowl. In same pan, sauté onions and mushrooms. Add to pork in bowl and cool.
- Beat eggs; add milk, salt, pepper, dry mustard and red pepper.
- Whisk together well.
- Add shredded cheese to egg and milk mixture.
- Put bread pieces in bottom of greased 13” X 9” pan.
- Add spinach on top of bread.
- Add pork, onion, and mushrooms to baking dish.
- Pour egg, milk and cheese mixture over top of baking dish.
- Carefully stir baking dish to mix things up but don’t spill. Spinach will shrink down during baking.
- Cover with foil and place in refrigerator overnight.
- If possible, bring to room temperature for about an hour before baking.
- With foil still on baking dish, place in preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes. Done when bubbles appear on top.
- Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving. Slice and enjoy.
Did I mention how much we like this the next day, too? Plus, a day off from cooking!
- Bring eggs and milk to room temperature. They combine better if they’re not cold.
- Whole wheat or any type of dense bread works for this recipe.
- If your family doesn’t like the heels of bread, freeze the heels for a few weeks and use them here. Chopped up and in this recipe, no one will know they’re heels.
- I use Frank’s hot sauce with the salt, pepper, dry mustard, and red pepper flakes. Use your favorite.
- If purchasing already shredded cheese, look for an 8 ounce package.
- Before placing in oven, garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or smoked paprika.
- Vegetarian? Skip the pork altogether.
- Gluten free? Add diced, cooked, potatoes instead of bread. Bake them first and then cut into cubes.
- Don’t need to feed an army? Halve the recipe.
Whew! Done. It’s so good the next day, too, cold, if you don’t feel like cooking the day after Christmas. Enjoy.
A very special thank you to my daughter who tested this recipe for me and didn’t complain a bit! You truly are a Christmas girl.
What do you like to serve for a holiday brunch? Do you like to make food ahead?
Go Gingham related links:
Displaying holiday cards – don’t put them away, just leave them out to enjoy
Homemade Christmas gift tradition: family calendar
Tree topper tale: a Christmas tree topper that’s so easy to make
Quick and easy holiday decorating: very easy
Green holiday living: generate less waste this holiday season
13 thoughts on “Christmas Morning Strata”
Another gluten-free option might be Udi’s bread. It’s almost like real bread, and I’m guessing would be just fine in this recipe.
Rita, I saw this at the grocery store. It looks good but if I was gluten-free, this bread would make me learn to bake my own bread! It cost nearly $7.00 for a small loaf of bread. Yikes! Go with the potatoes in this recipe or consider a gluten-free pasta in here.
On that baking bread note…I’ve been trying to bake more of our own bread here and have really been enjoying it AND it takes surprisingly less time than I thought it might. We don’t have a bread maker but I do have a sourdough starter and that helps.
We always had home-made yeast-raised cinnamon rolls at Christmas. Can almost taste them now!
Karen, those sound great! I love a good cinnamon roll. I’m about to go make a batch right now. Before I post a recipe, I try and make it several times once I finally right it down to make sure it’s correct. Needless to say, everyone here is very sad to have to eat cinnamon rolls again! Yeah right… 🙂
This looks great! I don’t know if my kids will eat it, but I may make a half-batch and have it ready, because I know I will love it! I usually have rolls or something simple ready, but this would be a more balanced meal. Thanks!!!
Annie, I think that’s why I love this recipe so much because it is a full meal. We usually have a fruit smoothie or orange juice with it so it really feels like all food groups are covered – including the cinnamon rolls at the end, too. 🙂
You read my mind, Sara! I have a spinach strata already prepared and in the freezer for Christmas morning. And I was in fact thinking I needed to pair it with yummy pastries, and how to get them fresh on Christmas morning? Might have to make those ahead of time too. Are the cinnamon rolls difficult?
Your pictures are always so beautiful, Sara, and your daughter truly is a star for making this dish ahead of time for you.
Amy, thank you! I will pass along the compliment to my daughter. I’m actually going to make the cinnamon rolls tonight to recipe test them one last time. You’ll find the recipe here next week hopefully!
They’re not hard and they’re almost healthy because I make them with whole wheat flour.
Yummy! Does the spinach make it watery at all or does the bread just soak it all up?
Cathy, it’s not watery at all. Between the bread and the baking, there’s no extra moisture. It’s very hearty and is good for dinner, too.
Thanks, Cathy! Merry Christmas.
I have been contemplating my options for a Christmas Eve brunch egg dish to go with ham, and had bypassed strata because we’ll be having a gluten-free guest. But I LOVE your potato idea (my favorite “vegetable”). About how many potatoes for the 9×13 pan? Make several and cover the bottom of the dish, like the bread?
Merry Christmas, Sara!
The potatoes sound great, don’t they? I haven’t made it with the potatoes myself but I’m going to this year. My mom is gluten-free and is spending Christmas morning with us. I’m going to make a small portion for her and am going to use one large potato, diced.
So, yes, bake enough potatoes to have about 6 cups diced. If you bake too many, just freeze what’s left and save for another meal.
I’d love to hear how it turns out, Michelle, so please let me know.
Merry Christmas to you, too!
I noticed a reference to bread machines in this post. I bought a used breadmaker ($2) at a college sorority yard sale.
It has dual pans, making one or two 1-lb. loaves. Or a pan can be used to make jam (recipes included.)
The smaller loaves are more appealing – they get eaten before they go stale!
Use the delay start cycle, and time the bread to finish at dinner. Use the slow cooker with a timer also, and walk in to fresh bread & soup or stew.
Or wake up on a holiday or slumber party weekend to fresh raisin bread and stewed apple & prune compote.
Used appliances are deals, and many were lightly used by original owners…
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