With the holidays coming up I thought it would be important to discuss the importance of breakfast casseroles. When you have guests staying with you the last meal you want to stress out over is breakfast but cereal isn't really appropriate. You can make a casserole out of any favorite breakfast dish: french toast, fritatas, and even pancakes. After a hard week at work, I love the idea of breakfast casseroles because I can put them together while I'm making dinner on Friday and then just pop them in the oven on Saturday morning while I enjoy my coffee.
A Strata is a savory brunch/breakfast casserole that is layered with bread and other fillings. Like with bread puddings, it's always good to use any stale bread you have on hand. I can always count on using stale hamburger buns for my casseroles. We don't eat hamburgers every day and when we do, we end up having a bag of hamburger buns left that eventually go stale.
So this morning I decided to make one with what I had on hand in my refrigerator: red peppers, Italian sausage and grated gouda cheese. It's a great meal and once you prepare it you only have to pop it in the oven while you have conversation over coffee. It's better than being chained to the stove (depending on your house guests).
Italian Sausage & Red Pepper Strata
5 cups cubed bread
1/2 cup whole milk
1 red pepper diced
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage
2-3 tbsp of grated gouda or parmesean
Salt and pepper to taste
8x8 glass baking dish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the sausage out of the casing and cook in a frying pan. Grease the baking dish with a light coating of olive oil. Layer in the cubed bread, then the diced red pepper, and Italian sausage. Whisk the eggs and milk together and then pour over the rest into the baking dish. Grate the gouda on top. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and slightly golden brown on edges.