If cooking and baking for others is considered a love language then it is definitely mine. I love waking up just as the sun is rising and the house is silent except the hum of my refrigerator and the chirping of birds just outside my window. The early morning hours is the only time of day where all is peaceful and I get to enjoy some quiet “me” time before the rest of the day is consumed by activities, to-do lists, and the constant refereeing between kids.
The early dawn hour also provides a moment of being alone in the kitchen with a cup of barely sweetened coffee to keep my hands warm and to awaken me out of slumber. It is my most favorite time of day to bake something either sweet or savory for my family or friends to wake up to. It is a way for me to express my love to those I love. The gift of greeting each person as they walk into my kitchen and watching their sleepy faces perk up when they realize they are on the verge of getting to eat something wonderfully homemade is a reward to me like no other.
Although I don’t wake up every morning to greet them with a fresh baked dish, I find Sunday mornings to be the perfect day to occasionally bake something special.
If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate the dad in your life for Father’s Day this Sunday, this breakfast strata can be prepared the night before so all you need to do is wake up and pop it in the oven.
I love this strata for its simplicity and beauty. With its bread-pudding like texture and the thin crispy cheese layer top, this strata is breakfast comfort food for the soul. Although there is bacon in this dish, it is not intended to be the star ingredient. Instead the spinach, bacon, onions, and tomatoes work harmonious together not trying to outshine one another. With every warm bite you can taste everything like a symphony of flavor. The bacon provides a nice salty smokiness whereas the sweet grape tomatoes provide a nice light acidic sweet touch. The spinach adds a nice pop of color and the onions add a depth of flavor only onions can provide. When you pull the strata out of the oven, listen for the soft crackling sound. It is the sound of scratch home baked goodness – music to my ears.
I can already tell you everyone on the receiving end of your breakfast will appreciate your efforts with a smile, an appreciative word, or just being silent because they are enjoying the food so much they cannot speak, which is a sometimes a good thing. Enjoy!
To all you wonderful dads out there (including my husband Rob), Happy Father’s Day!
Recipe: Skillet Breakfast Strata
This savory breakfast casserole dish is made in a pie plate or cast-iron skillet and baked to perfection. Bacon, spinach, onions, and tomatoes along with cubed bread makes the most perfect breakfast comfort food.
- 6 cups (one-inch) cubed day old rustic bread
- ½ pound bacon, cut into small bits and cooked
- ½ medium chopped onion, sautéed for 5 minutes
- 8 cups baby spinach, cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water and carefully squeezed of all water
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 ounces (about 1packed cup) cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Spray a deep dish pie plate or 10 inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.
- Evenly layer the bread cubes at the bottom of the dish.
- In this order, evenly layer the bacon, onion, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cream, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Evenly pour the egg mixture around the pie plate.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap or foil and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- When ready to bake, remove the strata from the refrigerator and set it on the countertop. This will give it a chance to warm up to room temperature while the oven is preheating.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the strata for 45-55 minutes uncovered until it is golden brown. The strata should look and feel set (to the light touch) and not feel liquidy.
- Remove the strata from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minute before cutting or serving.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley before cutting into 6 or 8 slices.