I promised that I had one more thing up my sleeve of what to do with leftover bread and here it is:
Bread cubes! No, not to make croutons or bread crumbs. Nor to make bread pudding; remember I have certain standards when it comes to making bread pudding? To make something else....
Make layers of bread cubes, onions, cheddar and mushrooms with a golden yellow egg mixture poured over it all and it turns into some gorgeous.
Mushroom, Cheddar & Onion Strata
If you took a crustless quiche and an egg sandwich on toasted bread and somehow combined them, a strata is exactly what you would get. Not only is it a great way to use up leftover going stale bread, it's delicious and easily customized to what you have on hand. You can make layers out of anything: spinach, ham, chopped potatoes, peppers, cheese, veggies, etc. A strata can be prepped the night before and popped in the oven to bake the next morning. We enjoyed ours as a a main course for dinner with a salad of crispy polenta croutons, canellini beans and shavings of parmesan cheese on the side but a strata is good anytime of day: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Even linner! Or dunch. We are a house divided on if it's linner or dunch. =)
If you are looking for a fancy schmancy picture of a wedge of the strata, you might want to let it cool a bit more before slicing it. We all were too hungry around here to wait for it to cool enough for me to get a pretty picture.
8 oz of artisan bread, cubed (Italian, French, etc)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt (or 1/2 c. sour cream OR just omit the yogurt & use 1 c. milk but it won't be as thick)
2 small onions, diced
2 cups of fresh, favorite mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces of cheddar, shredded (or other good melting cheese)
salt and pepper to taste
1. If baking right away, preheat oven to 375. In a pan, add a splash of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute the onions until they are tender and remove to a plate. Cook the mushrooms in the same pan, adding a little more oil if necessary to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When they are browned, turn off the heat and set aside.
2. Spray a casserole dish or a 9 by 13 pan with spray oil or brush with olive oil on the bottom and the sides. Place half of the bread cubes on the bottom, then half of the onions, half of the cheese and half of the mushrooms. Repeat the layer with the remaining ingredients. Set aside.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste--I used about a teaspoon of salt and about 7-8 twists of my pepper grinder. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture.
4. If you are not baking the strata right away, cover it and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. If you are baking the strata, put in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour & 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting. Dig in!