Shhhhh . . . Spinach & Cheddar Strata

spinach

This is going to be quick, 'cause right now, I'm the only one in this house who's awake.  I've got three jet-lagged Madrileños and a 7-year-old all wound up about her school open house tomorrow all snoozing upstairs and it's only 8:30 p.m.  I'm left up laundering and munching marshmallows, so I thought it'd be a good time to check in and let you in on tonight's recipe success.

This spinach and cheddar strata is SO easy and it can even be made ahead of time.  I whipped it up this morning while L. had a friend over, covered it, put it in the fridge and pulled it out when I got home from the airport with my sister and her family.  30 min. in the oven and out popped a warm tasty treat - just enough but not too much for anyone who wants a lighter meal.  Like anyone who's been trapped on a plane for 7 hours with a 9-month-old.  Just a for-instance.  The gang loved this, and I hope you will, too.

Spinach and Cheddar Strata (adapted from Everyday Food Magazine)

1 t. extra-virgin olive oil
16 oz. baby spinach
3 c. day-old bread cubes (1 inch)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. skim milk
1 1/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

 

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until it's wilted, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing with a spatula until the spinach is as dry as possible.  Transfer to a cutting board and chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/4 of the cheese, some salt, pepper, the cayenne and the nutmeg. 

In an 8-inch square baking dish, or one of similar capacity, layer the bread cubes and then the spinach.  Pour the egg mixture over the lot and sprinkle it all with the remaining cheese.

Bake at once in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or else cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.  Remove from fridge and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Serves 4.  This would be great with a nice tossed salad alongside . . . but tonight, I just had to get something in their bellies before they fell asleep - so this was a one-dish meal.

Sweet tip:  I keep odds 'n' ends of bread in the freezer for just this sort of purpose.  Sometimes we don't make it though a whole loaf of good Italian or French, so the next day when it's less than appealing, I bundle it into a Ziploc, label it, and sock it away.  Great for stratas, croutons, breadcrumbs etc.