Brunch Rush! Sausage, Egg and Cheese Strata

What do the following seasonal phenomena have in common?
  1. Fitness- and diet-tracking apps flood the social media feeds.
  2. Champagne glasses clink and toast to health and good tidings.
  3. Everyone starts singing “Auld Lang Syne” (even though no one actually knows the words).
  4. Many of us brace for the first hangover of the year.

That’s right New Year’s Eve is nearly upon us again. A time to look back, celebrate the moments and achievements of the last 364 days, and flood ourselves with lofty optimism for the 12 months ahead. The best way to celebrate? A party, of course!

While the Cooking Channel team has got your back with plenty of fabulous New Year’s Eve party recipes, have you planned for the morning after? That hazy kickoff to the semi-intoxicated promises made just hours before can be a bit rough. Best to plan ahead on this one.

Few other post-drunken corpse revivers are as effective as a good ol’ sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Putting all of that goodness together into a strata that can be made the night before should make the transition a bit easier.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Strata
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep: 1 hour (up to overnight)
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Level: Easy
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds fresh breakfast sausage, removed from the casing
12 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
6 kaiser rolls, coarsely chopped
Maple syrup, for serving

Place a large saute pan over medium heat with the oil. Add the sausage to the pan, stirring to crumble the meat up, until golden brown and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan and discard the remaining grease.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the reserved sausage drippings, eggs, milk, nutmeg, about 2/3 of the cheese, and some salt and pepper. Add the reserved sausage and kaiser rolls to the bowl and toss well to combine.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and transfer the bread and egg mixture to the dish, spreading it into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the strata and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Let the strata sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the strata covered with foil for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the egg is set and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Serve the strata with plenty of maple syrup.

NOTE: The longer the bread sits with the egg mixture, the more liquid it will soak up. Save yourself the prep time in the morning by assembling the strata the day before and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. That way, when it comes time to eat, all you’ve got to do is turn the oven on.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on   Twitter   &   Instagram   at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at   patrickwdecker.com .

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