My meat and potatoes husband extends his carnivore preferences to brunch, too. This cheesy Ham & Mushroom Strata hit the mark.
This breakfast casserole recipe is perfect for overnight guests, Mother’s Day or Easter brunch, or anytime you want to treat your family to a special breakfast!
Ham & Mushroom Strata
I’ve baked up iterations of this strata for years and years. This time, I swapped out my usual cheese for my favorite Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar. Smart move. Plus I sliced up some challah instead of a sturdy sandwich bread. You know the drill. Just make it your own. The bread, the cheese, the inclusion of mushrooms are all up to you.
Bill’s mom tried to trick him into trying mushrooms by calling them fried marshmallows. Didn’t work. I just eat his share. This breakfast casserole is marvelous with ham, but you could certainly add Italian sausage or even bacon if you prefer.
How to Plan a Brunch
Start by collecting the best brunch recipes, from cocktails to cakes, breakfast breads, tarts, and quiche, so there is something for everyone! Brunch comes from combining the words “breakfast” and “lunch” and is generally served between 10 AM and 2 PM.
- Start with what will be considered your brunch entree. It should include some protein source, whether ham, bacon, eggs, cheese, milk or cream. Breakfast casseroles, stratas, omelets, quiche, scrambled eggs, etc. are all terrific ideas.
- Add some healthy fare, like a simple fresh fruit salad or fruit platter, crudite, smoked salmon platter for those watching their calories or carbs. A yogurt parfait layered with yogurt, fruit and granola is beautiful served in glass dishes.
- Starches are important, too. Besides toast, bagels or English muffins, scones, muffins and pastries or coffeecakes, you can offer hash browns, biscuits, pancakes or waffles. Crepes and French toast are some of my favorites.
- Keep your warm dishes warm and cold dishes cold by keeping them in the oven or fridge until just before serving. As always, don’t leave out food that can spoil for more than 2 hours at room temperature. This is the FDA’s recommendation to avoid food poisoning.
- Make sure you have beverages for all ages. I like having a fruit juice, coffee, tea and even a breakfast cocktail, like these Grand Marnier Mimosas, if the brunch is a special occasion.
- Set up a coffee and/or tea bar with cream, creamers, sugar and sugar substitutes, honey, lemons, cups, mugs, stirring spoons or sticks, and a spot to deposit used tea bags.
- Know the needs of your guests. Whether it’s young children, vegans or those with gluten intolerance, adjust your menu accordingly.
- Most of all, make it fun for all by keeping the conversation going. Ask questions, tell stories and make it a memorable occasion!
A Few More Brunch Recipes:
- Aperol Cocktails by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Orange Popvers by The Chef Next Door
- Strawberries and Cream Sweet Rolls by The Redhead Baker
- Apple Fritters by The Suburban Soapbox
- Blueberry Salad with Green Onion-Poppy Seed Dressing by Love & Confections
- Caramelized onion, Bacon, and Cheddar Egg Tart by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 8-10 slices challah bread (thickness of sandwich bread)
- 5 ounces Black Forest ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar, divided (I used Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar)
- 1 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the mushrooms till golden. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom with half the bread slices, trimming to fit. Top with ham, then sprinkle with one cup of the grated cheese, followed by the mushrooms. Add enough of the remaining bread to cover the filling.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, half the thyme, mustard, salt, and pepper till well blended. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350º. Bake uncovered till puffed and lightly browned, about 1 hour.
- Mix remaining cheese and thyme and sprinkle over casserole. Return to oven for about 3 minutes or until the cheese melts. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
This recipe doubles easily.
Disclosure: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.