Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Square Meal

I'm a "make ahead" type of gal so every weekend I set aside a few hours and cook some dishes for the week. The one dish that I've made consistently for almost two years now is what I call my Breakfast Strata. As you know I try to eat healthy foods. And rather than be tempted by cookies or chocolate bars for breakfast, I pack a square of my strata, nuke it when I get to work and have myself a tasty start for the day. The nice thing about this little concoction is that it packs a punch with protein, vegetables, grains, and dairy. Plus, since you make it ahead you only have one kitchen clean-up and get to enjoy it six times. It's also a great way to recycle things in your fridge you might otherwise throw out. For example, last week I tossed in some stray cannellini beans and I've been known to make an entire strata out of refrigerator leftovers. Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Turkey Bacon and Cheese Strata
8 slices turkey bacon cooked (I bake mine in the oven at 375 for about 15-20 minutes)
3 English muffins toasted (I like Thomas' 12 grain)
1/2 cup onions diced
1 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheese (the Italian Blend in a bag is pretty good)
2 T hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 small container egg substitute (equivalent to 8 eggs)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
Prep an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray and set aside. I like to use the disposable aluminum ones in the supermarket. I haven't had good luck using glass baking dishes.
In medium sauce pan over low flame, sweat onions in canola oil. When they're translucent and tender, they're done. Set aside to cool.
Cut or crumble bacon into 1/2 inch pieces
Slice muffins into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes
In large bowl combine bacon, muffin cubes, onions, cottage cheese and shredded cheese. Mix to incorporate. Add hot sauce, salt, pepper and egg substitute. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with the parmesan cheese. Bake 45 minutes and let cool to room temperature. When the strata is cooled I remove it from the baking dish, slice it into 6 servings, place the slices back in the baking dish, cover and refrigerate. In the morning my breakfast is waiting for me. Microwave for 1 minute and enjoy.

Re-Mix: I have substituted and changed this recipe in every imaginable way. Here are some suggestions:
* Don't cook the onions, they'll add a nice crunch
* Eliminate the bacon and add sliced grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives
* Eliminate the hot sauce and use 1/2 cup salsa
* Try using Fontina cheese, it's delectably creamy and melts beautifully
* Substitute 1 tsp Dijon mustard for the hot sauce
* No muffins? Use a whole grain pasta

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